1 Social media
1.1 In this policy, 'social media' means internet-based applications which allow users to collaborate or interact socially by creating and exchanging content, such as social networks, community sites, blogs, microblogging sites, wikis, web forums, social bookmarking services and user rating services. Examples include Facebook, LinkedIn, Yammer, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, Flickr, SlideShare, Foursquare and Pinterest.
1.2 Social media platforms allow us to build connections and to share ideas and content more broadly and quickly than ever before, and the Company supports their use. However, improper use of social media may give rise to a breach of your employment contract and/or our policies, and/or defamation (ie damaging the good reputation of another person or organisation), misuse of our confidential information or that of our clients and/or suppliers and/or reputational damage.
1.3 This policy does not seek to regulate how staff use social media in a purely private capacity provided that use has no bearing on the Company or its activities. This policy is intended to ensure that staff understand the rules governing their use of social media in relation to their work for the Company or when referencing the Company, or which may affect the Company or its activities. It is designed to help you use these platforms and services responsibly, so as to minimise the risks set out above and to ensure consistent standards of use of social media. This policy therefore applies where:
1.3.1 your use of social media relates to The Company or its activities;
1.3.2 your use of social media relates to or is otherwise connected with your work, whether the intended use is personal or professional;
1.3.3 you represent yourself, or are otherwise identifiable, as someone employed by, or otherwise associated with, The Company.
2 General rules for use of social media
2.1 You must not use your work email address to sign up for personal use of social media websites.
2.2 You should have no expectation of privacy or confidentiality in anything you create or share on social media platforms. When you create or exchange content using social media you are making a public statement. As such, your content will not be private and can be forwarded to third parties without your consent. You should therefore consider the potential sensitivity of disclosing information (such as health information) to the world. Once sensitive or confidential information (or offensive or defamatory information) has been disclosed, it cannot be recovered and this may result in liability both for The Company and also you personally.
2.3 Bear in mind that, even if you are using social media in a personal capacity, other users who are aware of your association with The Company might reasonably think that you speak on behalf of The Company. You should also bear in mind at all times any adverse impact your content might have on The Company's reputation or client or supplier relationships.
2.4 When creating or exchanging content on a social media platform you must at all times comply with your contract of employment (or other contractual relationship) with The Company, The Company's disciplinary rules and any of The Company's policies that may be relevant. In particular you must:
2.4.1 not harass or bully other members of staff
2.4.2 not discriminate against other members of staff or third parties ;
2.4.3 not breach The Company's data protection, internet, email and communications, information security or whistleblowing policies;
2.4.4 respect any confidentiality obligations owed by you or The Company, and not disclose commercially sensitive material or infringe any intellectual property or privacy rights of The Company or any third party;
2.4.5 not make defamatory or disparaging statements about The Company, its shareholders, employees, clients, suppliers or competitors;
2.4.6 not create or exchange or link to abusive, obscene, discriminatory, derogatory, defamatory or pornographic content;
2.4.7 not upload, post or forward any content belonging to a third party unless you have that third party's consent;
2.4.8 ensure that any quotes from third party material are accurate;
2.4.9 check that a third party website permits you to link to it before including a link and ensure that the link makes clear to the user that the link will take them to the third party's site; and
2.4.10 not post, upload, forward or post a link to chain mail, junk mail, cartoons, jokes or gossip.
2.5 You should be honest and open but also be mindful of the impact your contribution to a site may have on the perception of Director.
2.6 If you make a mistake in a contribution, be prompt in admitting and correcting it.
2.7 Do not escalate 'heated' discussions. Try to be conciliatory and respectful and quote facts to lower the temperature and correct misrepresentations. Never contribute to a discussion if you are angry or upset; return to it later when you can contribute in a calm and rational manner.
2.8 Avoid discussing topics that may be inflammatory, such as politics or religion.
2.9 You should regularly review the privacy settings on your personal social media accounts and appropriately restrict the people who can read your comments. Review the content of your personal social media accounts on a regular basis and delete anything that could reflect negatively on you in a professional capacity or on The Company.
3 Using social media sites in the Company's name
In order to protect The Company commercial interests, only the marketing department are permitted to post material on any social media site on the companies behalf. Any breach of this restriction will be treated as gross misconduct.
4 Using work-related social media
4.1 The Company recognises the importance of the internet and social media in shaping public thinking about The Company, our services, staff, customers and other business partners. The Company also acknowledges that our staff can have an important role to play in shaping industry/sector conversation and direction through interaction in social media.
4.2 Our staff are therefore permitted to interact on approved social media platforms about industry/sector developments and to and candidates requesting information regarding Job Advertisements we have posted The list of approved platforms can be found on our internal intranet.
4.3 When undertaking permitted work-related social media interaction, in addition to the general rules above, you must:
4.3.1 clearly identify yourself, including your name and job title, and use the following disclaimer: 'The views expressed are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of my employer';
4.3.2 ensure that all communications are of high quality (in terms of content and form) including being grammatically correct, accurate, objectively justifiable, reasonable and appropriate for the intended audience;
4.3.3 not provide references or recommendations for anyone else on social media (whether employment or business recommendations) in any way that suggests any endorsement or recommendation by HR Employment Bureau. If you wish to provide a reference or recommendation, you should seek advice from the HR Department and ensure that any such reference or recommendation can be withdrawn at any time as required by HR Employment Bureau;
4.3.4 if you become aware of adverse criticism of HR Employment Bureau or of content you have created or shared, inform your direct line manager. Do not respond without the express approval of your line manager;
4.3.5 comply with the terms and conditions and policies of the social media platforms you use;
4.3.6 maintain good information security practices. Use strong passwords and make appropriate use of security and privacy settings on social media platforms, and follow The Company's email, internet and communications and information security policies, guidelines and standards;
4.3.7 seek approval from your line manager before creating or exchanging comments on colleagues, candidates, customers, suppliers or competitors;
4.3.8 before you begin communication on a social media platform, evaluate your audience by gaining an insight into the type of content that is published and note any unwritten rules that are followed in discussions;
4.3.9 not use The Company's trademarks, brands or logos or other identifying material.
5 Personal use of social media sites
5.1 You may make reasonable use of social media platforms for personal use at any time [using The Company computers, networks and/or systems (including via smartphones or tablets)], provided use is minimal and takes place substantially out of normal working hours (ie during your lunch break or before or after work), it does not interfere with your duties and business and office commitments and is strictly in accordance with this policy.
5.2 Any unauthorised use of social media websites is strictly prohibited. Permission to use The Company's systems to access social media websites for personal use may be withdrawn at any time at The Company discretion.
6.1 The Company's [internet, email, and communications policy], in particular in relation to The Company's right to monitor, intercept and read communications, applies equally to use of social media platforms.
6.2 We will also monitor how The Company uses social media generally and what is said about us and about our competitors. The IT Department is responsible for this monitoring.
7.1 We may use social media websites to perform due diligence on candidates during the recruitment process. Where we do so, searches will be conducted in accordance with data protection laws and our equality policy.
8 Breaches of this policy
8.1 The Company considers this policy to be extremely important. If an employee is found to be in breach of the policy, they will be disciplined in accordance with The Company's disciplinary procedure. In certain circumstances, breach of this policy may be considered gross misconduct, which may lead to immediate termination of employment without notice or payment in lieu of notice. As an alternative, The Company may withdraw your access to social media platforms via its systems. If you are not an employee, breach of this policy may result in termination of The Company's contract with you.
8.2 Staff should note in particular that creating or sharing content on a social media platform may amount to misconduct even if it takes place:
8.2.1 on a personal account with appropriate privacy settings;
8.2.2 outside normal working hours; and/or
8.2.3 without using The Company's computers, systems and networks.
8.3 Staff are also reminded that, in certain circumstances, breach of this policy may also constitute a criminal offence.
8.4 If, in the course of using social media, you become aware of any misconduct or wrongdoing by any employee, officer, worker or agent of The Company, you must report it to the IT Department.
8.5 You may be required to remove content created or shared by you which The Company deems to be in breach of this policy.
8.6 Employees who feel that they have been harassed or bullied because of material posted or uploaded by a colleague onto a social media platform should inform their line manager in accordance with The Company's grievance procedure.