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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Checklist for Drafting a Social Media Policy (Part 2)

As promised, in addition to the issues raised in part one of this article, a government’s social media policy should include rules for employee use of social media, some of which are addressed below. 
5.         Employee Usage Policy
These policies should include, if applicable, employer monitoring of employee use of government computers. The policy should also caution employees that they have no expectation of privacy while using the internet on employer equipment. 
The policy might also require employees who identify themselves as employees of a particular government or company to post a disclaimer that any postings or blogs are solely the opinion of the employee and not the employer.  Employees should not use the government or company logo, seal, trademark or other symbol without written consent of the administrator.  The policy should also address the protection of confidential and sensitive government or company information, as well as personal information relating to clients, customers, or residents.

An employer should be careful not to implicate the First Amendment rights of its employees nor violate any applicable federal or state employment laws protecting employees.  A recent example involved a settlement between the National Labor Relations Board and an ambulance service that fired an employee for criticizing her employer on Facebook. The ambulance company argued that the employee’s statements violated the company’s social media policy barring workers from disparaging the company or their supervisors. The Labor Board argued that the National Labor Relations Act protects an employee’s discussion of conditions of his or her employment with others and that co-workers comments on the employee’s Facebook page implicated those protections.  As part of the settlement, the company stated it would change its policies so they did not restrict employees from discussing work and working conditions when they are not on the job. 
Finally, all employees should be required to sign a written acknowledgement that they have received, read, understand, and agree to comply with the social media policy.


  1. I believe in that there's this 'psychological contract' that should exist between employees and employers. Employees should be able to determine their limitation in using social media accounts.

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  2. I agree with Lachelle. The employees should know the limitations on using social media. Etiquette should be observed at all cost.

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