Facebook, Twitter and personal blogging is now widely used and there are many reasons to welcome it. If you follow reasonable standards of behaviour the impact on the workplace may only be positive. The guidance here is to help achieve that. If you can be identified as an employee of the company in any postings or profile then you must be careful that your behaviour does not bring us into disrepute or impact negatively on us.
Material placed on social networking sites is invariably public and complete privacy is not achievable as information may be passed on. Furthermore, if you choose to use our systems for social networking then such communications should not be regarded as private and may be accessed. Piggy Holdings Ltd t/a Lara Nichols reserves the right to monitor the use of social media on organisation property. This may be done as part of a routine check of the IT systems or where a problem relating to unauthorised use is suspected.
Personal data is any data that identifies to a living person, an individual’s email address for example. Such data is protected under the General Data Protection Regulations (or equivalent legislation in Europe). Where such information is held on our information systems you must have a legitimate, work-related, reason for recording or accessing such data. It must be used only for the reason for which it was obtained. In other circumstances you must have explicit consent from the individual to record or use such data. For example, if you wish to contact a colleague for a non-work related purpose then you must have that colleague’s explicit consent (in an email for example) to do so. Breaching this policy is a disciplinary offence and could lead to dismissal.
It therefore follows that you must not publish or otherwise use personal data, that you have obtained solely as a result of employment with us, on any personal social media site.
Do show respect to colleagues, and the organisation as a whole. Our expectations of your behaviour as a blogger or tweeter are much the same as our expectations of you in the workplace. Cyber-bullying or online harassment will be taken as seriously as any other form of bullying or harassment. Please see the Harassment and Bullying Policy. Offensive, discriminatory or derogatory remarks made towards employees, customers' staff, or towards us as your employer, or a sustained campaign of critical comment towards any could lead to disciplinary action.
Social networking may foster good team work but you must not share photographs, videos or other personal data on the internet unless you have explicit permission from any employees, customers' staff or others who may be mentioned or visible.
Similarly, if you want to share photographs, videos or images depicting employees in connection with work (such as a work organised social event) or the work environment on the internet then you must also request and be granted permission from your line manager first. Permission will not necessarily be provided. Photographs that include documents or computer screens may contravene our policies on confidentiality.
If you want to publish commentary on events or other matters appertaining to the company we ask that you check facts first and that if you are asked to correct or amend details we require that you make those changes transparent.
You should not engage in social networking during work time unless it is directly related to your work. Any engagement with social networking must not be excessive. As applies to phone calls and text, social activities outside work must not intrude into work time other than for emergencies. You must also be open and transparent with us about any networking activity undertaken during the course of your work.
If you are given specific permission to Tweet or Blog or otherwise post material on our behalf, or if material can be traced to us, then you must respect copyright legislation and not engage in any form of defamation. As an employee you represent the company in these circumstances. But inclusion of this matter in our policy is not in itself permission to post on our behalf and doing so without permission could lead to disciplinary action.
Never disclose personal information that could put yourself, or the company at risk.
You should not publish material that may bring the organisation into disrepute or which may reduce respect for you in the consideration of employees, customers' staff or the public at large. If you’ve had “a good night out” then pictures of the event might not enhance your personal standing.
Irrespective of your obligations as an employee you should keep in mind that you are legally responsible for commentary that you personally place online. The internet is the ultimate public place. Actions that we may take notwithstanding, other parties such as colleagues can take legal action against you for derogatory comments, breaches of data protection or failure to safeguard children or vulnerable adults.
There may be additional clauses in your contract covering confidentiality, intellectual property, trade secrets and other relevant restrictive covenants. Divulging confidential, protected or restricted information on the internet may be regarded as a disciplinary offence; breaching a covenant may make you liable at law to injunctions or claims for damages.
If your social networking attracts media attention where you are identified as an employee then you must refer enquiries immediately to the Managing Director.
Should social media be used for the purposes of recruitment this must be clearly communicated to all applicants.
Breaches of this policy
There are many positive benefits of using social networking, and these can enhance work relationships as well as social relationships. However, if any of your profile information or postings on social network sites identify you as our employee then any breach of this policy (including but not limited to bringing the company into disrepute, cyber-bullying, breaches of confidentiality, personal social networking during work time) may result in disciplinary action being taken against you.