Social Media … It’s Company Policy

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There is never a dull moment when it comes to footballers and their use of Twitter, the latest to get themselves into hot water in the ongoing Twitter row being Chelsea and England left back Ashley Cole.  Cole has been fined £90,000 for his comments despite former Newcastle United midfielder Joey Barton being transfer listed only last year as a result of his derogatory tweets about his employer.

Cole’s comments came after the Football Association found John Terry guilty of having racially abused Anton Ferdinand during a match.  Cole’s comments breached the FA’s rules on misconduct and having realised the seriousness of his comments Cole issued an apology, saying that he had acted in the heat of the moment.

It highlights the importance for employers to have stringent and clear policies in place dealing with their employees’ use of social media sites.  With the scrutiny of footballers’ every move, their outward speaking out against those to whom they are responsible could serve as a precedent to employees alike to believe that they may say what they want on social media sites.

While an outright ban on the use of social media would not be possible, a robust policy would enable employers to deal with any employee who acts in breach of it.  The lack of a policy would not completely prevent an employer from taking any action against employees acting in a way which could tarnish the company’s name in the online forum, however, it would certainly make it more difficult to do so.

Employees should be aware that anything which they post in the public domain has the potential to damage the reputation of their employer and could result in them being involved in disciplinary proceedings.

For assistance in dealing with this, or any other issue relating to employment law, please contact our experienced employment team or call 01254 222399.

This entry was posted in Employment Law.

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