South Bend / Mishawaka, IN – The last few years have seen an explosion in the popularity of online social networking websites. These sites can be both a benefit and a detriment for employers because they can potentially create a series of legal pitfalls. In light of the issues that may arise from social networking, it is wise for an organization to consider having a policy addressing social networking as it relates to the employer’s workplace.
When developing such a policy, the employer must first determine the purpose of the policy and whether it will have strong prohibitions restricting social networking, or whether it will encourage employees to contribute to social networking sites and allow employee participation, but with limitations. How an employer intends to enforce a social networking policy is also very important. In this regard, an employer’s policy should:
An effective social networking policy should establish guidelines about whether or not employees can use social networking sites during working hours and if so, under what circumstances. In this regard an effective social networking policy should also:
In developing a social networking policy, the employer’s goal should always be to protect a company’s reputation, trade secrets and confidential, proprietary and privileged information, but must also keep in mind the privacy right of employees.
When considering or writing such policies, a call to an experienced employment lawyer is recommended. May Oberfell Lorber attorney, Bob Conte, would be happy to speak with you. You can contact him here.
Source: DRI Employment Law Supplement, Social Working in the Workplace, Newman and Isenhath, March 2010; Labor and Employment Law Notes, State Bar of Michigan, Spring 2010.
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