What's a social media policy, and when do you need it?
You should have a social media policy in place to govern how your employees and other workers may conduct themselves when they are using social media – on your time, or on their own time.
The template policy explains worker responsibilities and confirms that your business may monitor their use of social media, the internet and any other IT or IT-related device usage by the worker, to verify their compliance with this policy.
Our template explains that for the purposes of this policy, social media means and includes:
a) websites and applications where users are able to create and share content and/or take part in online networking. (The template contains a list of all the most common examples but points out that the list is not exhaustive and that new applications are not excluded.)
b) personal blogs
c) any posts that workers might make on other people’s blogs, and
d) all online forums and noticeboards.
It also points out that besides creating social media posts directly, ‘posting’ for these purposes additionally includes retweeting/re-circulating, or otherwise sharing third party posted content, commenting on a third party’s post or liking it. This also includes the scheduling of posts on any social media scheduling services.
And it sets out the consequences of failure to comply with this policy, which may lead to action being taken under the business’ disciplinary policy, and in the case of serious breaches, may also result in the termination of the worker’s contract on grounds of gross misconduct. It also makes clear that third parties could also choose to take action against a worker in breach of this policy.
Our experts recommend that you do not give this policy contractual status in any employment contract that you put in place, but that you do reference it in that contract, make clear that the employee is expected to comply with the policy and that you have the right to update or revise it, in your discretion and when you want to.
This template includes all the statutory requirements, as well as optional elements for you to consider.