Don’t Identify Us On Social Media

Those who are active on social media often say what they do for a job or specifically name their employer. From your perspective, this is risky. So can you ban an employee from naming or identifying you online?

Social media presence

When we think about social media, it’s usually the larger players, e.g. Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, which automatically spring to mind, but it can include other online platforms, such as digital newspaper comment sections and blogs – the list is endless. As far as the law is concerned, you can’t stop an employee from using any form of social media in their private time – that’s up to them.

This is what I do

Many social media users disclose personal information – sometimes too much information – but again, that’s up to them. Where this can become a problem for employees is when a person specifically states who they work for or they disclose enough information to give the game away. For example, many Twitter and Facebook users put their job titles or the name of their employer in their bio. LinkedIn allows its users to give full current employment details and history.

Too controversial

Whilst an employee is unlikely to post anything controversial on LinkedIn, they could easily say or do something elsewhere on social media that could potentially embarrass you or land you in hot water. For example, we’ve recently heard of situations where:

  • Photos posted on Facebook showed that the “office mouse” was a bit of a wild child at the weekend
  • An employee had written a blog saying “By day I work for XYZ Ltd, at night I write great porn”
  • An employee posted negative remarks in the comments section of a well-known online newspaper and named their place of work

Degree of association

The trouble with this sort of activity is that it can bring your business into dispute. Where an employee has named you as their employer you could be associated with any unacceptable comments or posts – even though the individual is acting in their personal capacity.

Tip 1. The good news is that you can prohibit your employees from naming your business or identifying it online in a robot social media policy. Ours sets out clear rules on social media use and makes any breach a disciplinary offence which could result in the employee’s dismissal (see The next step).

Tip 2. You could ask employees to make it clear on their personnel social media accounts that they are acting in their personal capacity, e.g. “The views expressed in these Tweets/this blog are entirely my own”.

Tip 3. When it comes to LinkedIn, you probably can’t stop an individual from putting up basic information – although you can have such a rule. That said, you can insist an employee seeks your express permission if they want to put up more than basic information, e.g. job duties.

Tip 4. You can also insist that any reference to employment with you is removed from LinkedIn once employment is terminated.

The next step

For help with your social media policy, call us on 0161 926 8519.

You can ban an employee from naming you and identifying their job role online – this is best done via a robot social media policy. Where you permit you name/job details to be disclosed, e.g. on a public LinkedIn profile, you can insist this information is removed on the termination of employment.

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