Social media has revolutionized how people communicate. In some cases, it can help those who live far apart to remain in close contact. In other cases, it can allow one person to sully the reputation and brand of a business or organization with just a few poorly considered comments.
Social media can be beneficial to employers. You can sometimes discover if a workers' compensation claim is false or if an employee is violating your ethics policy. However, it can also cause issues, as employees can slander your company, or worse, say terrible things online while listing you as an employer.
In the minds of many, this amounts to tacit approval from you, the employer, of speech that is racist, sexist or otherwise inflammatory. Your reputation shouldn't be damaged by an employee's off-duty actions. You need the help of an employment law attorney who understands electronic discovery. Your attorney can help you document inappropriate digital actions that could impact your business and help ensure you won't face repercussions for disciplining or terminating the employee in question.
Consider creating a special social media policy
The best way to protect your business from bad online behavior on the part of your employees is to have your employment contract include special sections regarding digital behavior. Employees who do not wish to have their online behavior impact their work life should not list you as an employer on any social media sites.
Similarly, your business may want to include language that forbids specific discussion of any aspect of your business online. This kind of contract policy can protect your company from potential issues due to employee complaints or violation of the privacy of others.
Even if you aren't going to be hiring any new staff, you can always create new contracts and clauses for existing staff to sign. It is far better to be proactive when it comes to the potential damage social media can cause than to wait for something bad to happen.
Working with an attorney who has experience in the world of electronic discovery and employment law can help ensure that your policies comply with both federal and Wisconsin state laws. In the event that you need to take action due to a violation of this policy, your attorney can help with electronic discovery and ensure everything is documented.
Protect your business and its reputation
Not all law firms have experience with social media, electronic discovery and employment law. You want to work with a firm or attorney that has relevant experience in these areas. Doing so can help protect your business from damage to its reputation or financial losses if a undisciplined employee tries to push back financially.