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Do Your Company Contracts Need a Social Media Clause?

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The world of work has changed dramatically in the past few decades, and it is incredibly important that we adapt our businesses and change with it. For example, nearly everyone is on some sort of social media nowadays. This means that it might be worth placing some sort of social media clause into your contracts. This will help you to protect your brand online, and could help to prevent disputes with your employees from spilling over into a public forum.

Explaining Social Media Clauses

Every employee has to sign a contract when they start to work with you. This contract will have been looked over closely by employment law solicitors such as those at www.springhouselaw.com to ensure that everything is above board and compliant with the latest government guidelines. Though there are many different clauses that you will include as standard, such as hours to work and rate of pay, you might also want to consider adding in a few clauses that cover social media.

It cannot be denied that these are incredibly powerful platforms that carry a lot of weight, and you need to make sure that you are taking the steps to adequately protect your business here. Common clauses include restrictions on promoting competitors through social media, or a prevention of online slander and abuse. An employment lawyer will be able to advise you more on which clauses could be best for your business.

What Could Employees Say on Social Media?

With social media policies such as these, the aim should never be to control or silence your employees when they are not at the office. Everyone has the right to conduct themselves how they choose to when they are not in work. This is not a black and white division, however, and there are some things that could come to pass that could then reflect badly on the company as a whole.

For example, while goofing off with some colleagues, an employee might whip out their mobile and film something unprofessional before posting it to social media. This will inevitably reflect badly on the company, as this will show their employees behaving in a way that they should not when they should be working.

Another scenario could come down to an employee’s reaction to certain events. We live in a world where social justice causes and other political and cultural movements can gain momentum in a matter of seconds when posted to social media. Your employee might see one such movement and react to it negatively on social media. As many people have some sort of link between their company pages and their personal social media profiles, netizens could then flood the company with complaints. Your business would then be forced to respond, especially as the views expressed by your employee might not be the same as those you would wish the company to portray.

These are just two scenarios where a social media policy could help to protect your business and your wider reputation. You need to make sure that you have the measures in place to be able to properly defend the company that you have built, as without them you could run into issues.

Protection, Not Moderation

It has to be stressed that these are not clauses that can be used to control what your employees say on social media. If they have their profiles set to private, there may be no way for you to monitor what they post unless someone brings something to your attention. Likewise, if you do have to deal with an incident, you need to consider whether or not disciplinary action is the right move for such an offence. Of course, in extreme cases where you wish to very much distance the company from what has been said, dismissal might be the right answer.

This is a complicated issue that businesses need to be able to navigate, especially as more and more of the younger workforce lead dual lives online and in real life. Social media is here to stay, and we all need to learn how to navigate through it – whether that is on an individual level or as a representative of a brand and a business.

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