Protecting Your Business Reputation Online

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The case brought by the Attorney General last week against Joanne Fraill, the juror found guilty of contempt of court for contacting a Defendant via Facebook during a criminal trial highlighted yet again the inherent dangers of social media.

Although an extreme example; it nevertheless illustrates the importance of being extremely careful about what is said online.  It is something that I, as an Employment Lawyer, have to tackle on behalf of businesses more and more often.

Even a cursory glance at Facebook and Twitter can reveal ‘status updates’ which could be deemed to be derogatory towards an employer, and even, in some cases as breaching confidentiality.  Every employee has an implied duty to keep their Employers’ trade secrets confidential – and often employment contracts will go further than that.  It is always my advice to any employer to have in place a robust internet and email policy in order to deal with any situations that may arise. 

Protecting your businesses reputation online, especially in this difficult economic climate is more important than ever, and it is not difficult to envisage how a throwaway comment by an employee online could damage customer relations.  Without a robust policy in place, that could well be difficult for an employer to tackle through a disciplinary procedure; and of course, failing to deal with the matter properly could lead to a costly and time-consuming Employment Tribunal.

That is not to say that employers should seek to regulate their employees conduct too closely outside of work – but an employer is entitled to expeect a degree of professionalism.  The use of social media develops day by day and so, of course, so do the problems associated with it.  At Forbes Solicitors, our Employment Lawyers for your business regularly tackle these issues both at an internal stage and in Tribunal when necessary.  As with any employment issue, ensuring you have robust policies and procedures in place will give employers the best possible chance of avoiding a dispute.

Jonathan Holden

About Jonathan Holden

Jonathan is a Partner and Head of the Employment Law department at Forbes Solicitors. Jonathan’s blogs cover his specialisms of disciplinary and grievance matters, redundancies, restructures, employment contracts, TUPE, policies and procedures and settlement agreements. Jonathan also writes about and acts for clients in relation to Employment Tribunal claims for unfair dismissal and discrimination.
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