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Social media: top tips for employers

Many see social media as an outlet for self-expression. An employee might exhibit a professional demeanor in the workplace, but let loose on Twitter. However, the Forstater case highlights some of the difficulties that can arise from unchecked employee use of social media.

Forstater v CGD Europe and others concerned a researcher with gender critical views which she expressed via Twitter. Her employer, CGD Europe, found the tweets to be offensive and declined to offer her further work. The Employment Appeal Tribunal found the gender-critical views were capable of being a protected belief under equality legislation. The case was remitted back to the Employment Tribunal to determine if her employer discriminated against her because of that belief.

The Forstater case shows the risk of reputational damage from a post that’s deemed offensive. To avoid ending up in hot water, here are top tips for employers to consider regarding social media:

  1. Utilise a social media policy. A policy on social media use will set the company’s expectations for appropriate use of social media.
  2. Warn about lack of privacy. A social media policy can be used to remind employees social media activity is rarely private.
  3. Alert to potential for disciplinary action. Employers should warn employees they may face disciplinary action for online conduct that the company deems to be misconduct.
  4. Protect confidential information. Educate employees about the adverse consequences should they reveal company confidential information online.
  5. Prevent harassment and bullying via social media. Policies on anti-bullying and harassment should include social media posts as examples of potential sources of bullying and harassment.

LexLeyton can assist employers with advice on any particular issues arising from employees’ use of social media. Please contact us at legal@lexleyton.co.uk if you would like to discuss this topic in more detail.

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