Employers, Employees and Job Applicants are using social media as a valuable tool but it must be used correctly to avoid claims against the Organisation or from being dismissed. Just having a social media policy alone does not deter the most intelligent of people from making errors of judgement.

All levels of Staff with the Organisation's should be provided with the Organisation's social media policy during the induction process. It is essential to ensure that each individual understands the policy along with the do's and don'ts of using social media forums such as Facebook, Linkedin or Twitter.

Employment Case law surrounding social media has demonstrated that provided it can be proved that any comments etc. made on social media sites has a detrimental effect on the Organisation and that the Organisation has acted reasonably in its actions, dismissal of an Employee is very likely to be fair.

All Employees should use their common sense when using social media. Bear in mind that regardless of any privacy settings that may be set, information is in the public domain and it is very difficult to delete it.

When using social media, Employees should:

• Not post anything that they wouldn't want their Manager to see regardless of how liberal they many seem.

• Not discuss the place they work or their colleagues online

• Not post inappropriate pictures that may be offensive or harmful to others

• Not post pictures of an adult nature

• Not post their CV on Linkedin looking for work without telling their Manager first

• Think about the wider audience that comments or pictures could be shared with

• Ask friends to be respectful when 'tagging' them in pictures and ensure that any tagged pictures can be reviewed before they are seen

• Think about photo apps such as Instagram. Are images appropriate for any audience?

Employers should also be very careful when using social media, especially when recruiting. They should not screen potential Employees by looking at their social networking pages as this could lead to a claim for discrimination especially if they do not offer an interview based on their view of the person through their page. Some people do not have social media sites so it is likely to be found unfair if some people are being assessed through social media and some people are not.

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