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Employers Need More Social Media Rules

Employers Need More Social Media Rules

HR Focus

December 02, 2009

Half of employers still lack policies addressing their employees1 use of social networking Web sites outside of work, even though one- quarter have already disciplined an employee for improper activities on Facebook and Twitter or similar sites. This was a finding of a survey by the Society of Corporate Compliance and Ethics (SCCE) and the Health Care Compliance Association. Most employers don’t actively monitor employees" use of social network Web sites, according to the survey of about 800 compliance and ethics professionals in the private, nonprofit, and government sectors.

“What an employee does online outside of work remains largely his or her business,” the report said.

This could put employers at risk because they are not aware of activities such as disclosure of proprietary information and “inappropriate photographs that could cause embarrassment” to an employer, the report said. Employees1 online activities and behavior “may reflect badly on the company,” noted Roy Snell, SCCE CEO.

Another challenge is that belated adoption of policies and practices could cause friction with workers. "There are going to be a lot of people finding that what they have long done is no longer acceptable at work " Snell said.

The report found that about half of employers polled don’t have a policy for employees’ online activities outside of work, just 10 percent have a policy specifically addressing social networks, and 34 percent have a general policy for online activity that also addresses social networks.

Thirty-two percent of respondents said they have a “passive” monitoring system, where action is taken only when “we are apprised of an issue.” Eight percent said they monitor informally, and 14 percent did not know whether monitoring occurred.

Copyright Institute of Management & Administration Dec 2009

© 2009 HR Focus. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All rights Reserved.

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