Key Points

  • It is prudent for employers to prepare and implement a social media in the workplace policy in order to avoid risks of disclosure of confidential and proprietary information and claims of cyberbullying, harassment and discrimination.
  • Communication and consistent enforcement of the social media policy to all employees will avoid claims that employees were unaware of the policy.
  • Employers should aim to strike a balance between monitoring employee activity on social media and respecting employee privacy rights.
  • Social media policies should clearly articulate the legitimate business interests the employer seeks to protect as well as provide clear definitions of prohibited behavior and private and confidential information and spell out the consequences for violations of the policy.
  • An employer should use caution when disciplining employees based on social networking activities as certain union and nonunion employee rights need to be considered.
  • An employer may discipline an employee for posting negative comments on a social networking site if the employee's comments are offensive or inappropriate, and not related to employment issues.

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