Skip to content

How employers can protect themselves with respect to social media

Grant Machum and Richard Jordan

 

In an earlier article, we considered an employer’s options when an employee departs and takes with them the social media contacts they have obtained during the course of their employment.  We concluded, with reference to the emerging case law on this topic in the United States and the United Kingdom, that an employee will generally own their social media account, even where an employer has suggested creating the account or where the departing employee permits other employees to use or maintain the account for them.

This article provides some suggestions as to how an employer can create a policy to ensure that it owns its social media accounts and reduce the risk of engaging in litigation with a departing employee with respect to social media contacts, connections and followers.  In addition, it provides some tips regarding social media policies more generally.

There is no one-size-fits-all social media ownership policy or social media policy; an employer must craft an individualized policy based on many considerations, including the nature of the employer’s business, the workplace environment and whether the employer encourages or discourages the use of social media.

1. Social Media Ownership Policy

Employers should consider establishing a written policy regarding the employer’s ownership of social media accounts created or used by employees on behalf of the employer.  Such a policy may:

  • Define social media;
  • Establish that the employer owns the employer’s social media accounts, including content, friends/followers, usernames and passwords;
  • Confirm that the administrative rights to an employer’s social media accounts should be limited to certain employees with the permission to post, with the log-in information stored in a secure database which the employer controls;
  • Provide guidelines with respect to the appropriate use of an employer’s social media account;
  • Integrate an employer’s social media ownership policy with other policies, including polices with respect to confidential information;
  • Outline what happens to an employer’s social media accounts when an employee with administrative rights departs; and
  • Ensure that the Company’s use of any social media platform complies with all applicable laws, and each website’s terms and conditions and privacy policies.

2. Social Media Policy

More generally, employers should consider establishing a written policy regarding the appropriate use of social media in the workplace.  Such a policy may:

  • Define social media;
  • Specify who is bound by the policy;
  • Distinguish between an employee’s personal use of social media versus an employee’s use on behalf of the employer;
  • Specify whether/when the personal use of social media is acceptable at work;
  • Confirm whether the employer will monitor the employee’s social media and/or internet use at work;
  • Outline the risks to an employer from the employee’s use of social media, including damage to an employer’s reputation or the unauthorized disclosure of confidential information;
  • Confirm that workplace rules and policies which prohibit harassment and bullying and protect human rights extend to an employee’s online presence and that the use of social media and inappropriate online comments outside the workplace may lead to discipline;
  • Provide guidelines with respect to the responsible use of social media by employees, including the non-disclosure of confidential and/or client information;
  • Identify whether any legislation applies to the collection, use or disclosure of personal information in the workplace;
  • Ensure that an employer’s social media policy is integrated with an employer’s other policies;
  • Specify the consequences for violating the policy; and
  • Provide for an annual review of the policy by employees.

We would be pleased to assist with the development of your social media and social media ownership policy.


This update is intended for general information only. If you have questions about the above information, or would like assistance with the development of your social media and social media ownership policy, please contact a member of our Labour & Employment group.

 

Click here to subscribe to Stewart McKelvey Thought Leadership.

SHARE

Archive

Search Archive


Search
Generic filters

 
 

The Winds of Change (Part 4): A Review of Rental and Royalty Regimes for Wind Development on Crown Lands: Options for Newfoundland and Labrador’s Economic Wind Policy

August 3, 2022

By: John Samms, Sadira Jan, Paul Kiley, Dave Randell, Alanna Waberski, and Jayna Green As we explained in our July 6, 2022 “Winds of Change” article, the announcement made by Minister Andrew Parsons on April…

Read More

Update on the Economic Mobility Program for Refugees (phase 2): The Economic Mobility Pathways Project (“EMPP”)

August 2, 2022

Included in Beyond the Border – July 2022 By Brittany Trafford; Fredericton   Brief Overview In an attempt to address the Canadian labour market shortages, the Economic Mobility Pathways Pilot (“EMPP”), was introduced in 2018.…

Read More

HR Best Practices When Employing Foreign Workers

July 29, 2022

Included in Beyond the Border – July 2022   By Brendan Sheridan; Halifax Canadian employers are increasingly relying on foreign workers to fill gaps in the labour market and to provide specialized skills. In 2020,…

Read More

Beneficial Ownership Registry Rules Come to New Brunswick

July 28, 2022

By Alanna Waberski, Graham Haynes and Maria Cummings On June 10, 2022, the Government of New Brunswick proclaimed into force Bill 95, which amends the Business Corporations Act (New Brunswick) (the “NBBCA”) to require corporations…

Read More

Recent trends in defined benefits pension plans – a review of public sector plans

July 28, 2022

Included in Discovery: Atlantic Education & the Law – Issue 10 Hannah Brison and Dante Manna Increased financial volatility caused by recent global events has caused public sector defined benefit (“DB”) pension plans to reflect…

Read More

Atlantic Canada offers immigration pathways for workers in Trucking, Health, Construction and Food Service Industries

July 27, 2022

Included in Beyond the Border – July 2022 By Sara Espinal Henao; Halifax It is a well-known fact that Atlantic Canada needs workers. In the aftermath of COVID-19, regional employers in the trucking, health, construction,…

Read More

The winds of change (part 3): Newfoundland and Labrador releases wind energy guidelines

July 27, 2022

By: John Samms, Matthew Craig, Dave Randell,  and Jayna Green On July 26, 2022 the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador (the “Province”) released “Guidelines: Nominating Crown Lands for Wind Energy Projects” (the “Guidelines”). Described as…

Read More

Trends in tenure and promotion for unionized employers

July 25, 2022

Included in Discovery: Atlantic Education & the Law – Issue 10 By Kate Profit    Tenure is a well known and often discussed topic amongst academics. Viewed by unions as a cornerstone of modern universities,…

Read More

Car-Sharing Comes to PEI – Insurance Implications

July 22, 2022

Dalton McGuinty Jr. and Kegan Bradley On May 17th, 2022, Canada’s largest car-sharing company, Turo, brought their platform to Prince Edward Island. The service allows car owners (lessors) to lend out their vehicles to drivers…

Read More

Federal Government announces significant investments in Nova Scotian clean energy initiatives

July 21, 2022

Nancy Rubin & Tiegan Scott On July 21, 2022, the Federal government announced a new investment of up to $255 million for clean energy initiatives in Nova Scotia. The funds will be allocated in two…

Read More

Search Archive


Search
Generic filters

Scroll To Top