Social media & the law
One of your key challenges in the coming year will be to manage the impact of social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. According to Gagandeep Prasad, senior associate, employment group at law firm Charles Russell, it’s increasingly important that you are aware of the potential pitfalls of using the technology. “Social media provides a great opportunity to promote a business, share knowledge and best practice with others and create new business contacts and networking opportunities,” she says.
“However, as its popularity continues to grow, so do the risks associated with its use.” The major areas to be concerned with include managing confidential information, businesses being held vicariously liable for discriminatory comments by employees, recruitment, data protection and privacy. Prasad recommends you appoint an employee to manage the company’s use of social media and make sure your HR policies are fully up to date and cover all aspects of use.
“A suitable person should be charged with keeping track of the business’s use of social media, such as blogging on its website, and employees’ use of other sites on behalf of the business,” she advises. “You should implement a specific policy which clearly defines the parameters relating to the use of social media. This could be incorporated into the employee handbook or as a separate policy.”
The policy should include details on the use of social media during work time and how to use it responsibly, specifically in relation to sensitive business information.