Is it ok for the workplace to monitor your social media feed?
Social media has given all of us a platform for our personal views. But when those personal views come into conflict with your profession, have you crossed the line? Does your employer have the right to monitor your social media feed and ask you to remove a post?
Many organizations have some sort of social media policy in place. We’ve helped to create policy for some our clients. Some general guidelines that we typically include:
- Employees should be aware of the effect their actions may have on their personal image as well as [Company’s] image.
- Employees should be aware that [Company] may observe content and information made available by employees through social media. Employees should use their best judgment when posting material so that it is not inappropriate or harmful to [Company], its employees, or customers.
- Social media use shouldn’t interfere with employee’s responsibilities at [Company].
- If employees publish content outside of work hours that involves work or subjects associated with[Company], a disclaimer should be used, such as this: “The postings on this site are my own and may not represent [Company’s] positions, strategies or opinions.”
- It is highly recommended that employees keep [Company] related social media accounts separate from personal accounts, if practical.
Even as I share the last two bullet points, I question whether these are sufficient enough to separate the personal from the professional any more.
If you are an active social media participant, there is a pretty good chance that your personal posts and your professional posts have blended into each other. Most of us include work information on the “about” sections of social media platforms.
A day doesn’t go by that we don’t hear about a tweet or a Facebook post that the public perceives as negatively impacting an organization, with a public outcry demanding that the post be removed and immediate disciplinary action taken to the alleged offender.
I don’t think there is a one-size-fits-all solution to this. But what I do know for sure is common sense needs to play a role in this discussion. And as I have been fond of sharing before, apply the Grandma Rule to what you post (if you don’t want your grandma to see it, don’t post it).
Employers need to regularly remind their teams what is and isn’t appropriate for your particular organization. Employees need to be respectful of the company policies in the same way they adhere to dress codes, vacation requests and others.