Legal Advice for Company Social Media Policy

No matter the size of the business or organisation, the use of social media presents numerous challenges for employers. For instance, businesses are at risk of claims of defamation, cyber bullying, time theft, freedom of speech, and invasion of privacy. It can also mean that colleagues are contactable 24/7, which can leave them open to making and receiving work-related calls and  messages outside of normal working hours. 

With the majority of employees having some sort of online presence, it is vital that employers have a company policy which outlines the expectations for social media use, and the consequences of misuse both inside and outside of the workplace.


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Why is a Social Media Policy Important?

Many businesses now use social media as a way of advertising and providing customer services to their clientele. Therefore, having employees who are digitally literate and adept at using social media can be beneficial to a company. 

Having a watertight social media policy in place can help your business in a number of ways, including:

  • The prevention of security breaches
  • The prevention of a PR crisis
  • Maintaining brand identity across multiple channels
  • Ensuring employees know their responsibilities
  • Protecting the business from potential employment claims
  • Encouraging the amplification of the company’s message by employees

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What Should be Included in a Social Media Policy?

A corporate social media policy should be used to communicate the basic expectations of social media use by employees, both inside and outside of the workplace, where relevant. Some of the key things that may be included in a social media policy include:

  • Prohibiting employees from sharing confidential and proprietary information about the company online;
  • Ensuring that employees add a disclaimer to ensure their friends and followers are aware that their views are their own and do not represent those of the company;
  • Making employees aware that they are fully responsible for anything they share online and that they are prepared to deal with the consequences;
  • Ensuring that employees are respectful, polite, and in no way offensive, libellous, or discriminatory when representing the company online;
  • Making employees aware that they should not talk negatively about their colleagues, their employer, the customers, clients, or contractors;
  • Ensuring that employees respect the law when posting online, making sure they do not contravene data protection, image rights, or copyright laws;
  • Notifying employees that the company policies on bullying, harassment, equality, and diversity are also applicable for online behaviour;
  • Making employees aware of the disciplinary consequences of contravening the social media policy
  • Advising employees of what to do if a colleague wishes to remain off social media, for example asking before sharing photos that include them;
  • Making employees aware of when social media may be used and when it is prohibited.

If employees are permitted, or required, to have a professional social media profile, usually on a platform such as LinkedIn or X, the policy may include information about this. For example, it may be recommended that they use a professional headshot, create a recognisable username, and maintain brand consistency through the use of company graphics for profile headers.

How can Analysis Legal Help?

Our highly qualified and experienced team of employment law solicitors are able to help with every aspect of managing social media use within your business, including:

  • Drafting Social Media Policies: We can assist with the creation and enforcement of a comprehensive social media policy. Our solicitors can help to draft legally sound policies, ensuring it is made clear what is considered acceptable and unacceptable behaviour on social media, as well as stating the implications of misuse of social media, both during and outside of work hours.
  • Employee Privacy Rights: We are able to offer advice on the extent to which an employer can monitor their employees’ social media activity whilst ensuring the legal protections around employees’ privacy are adhered to. Our solicitors can provide guidance on what is permissible under UK legislation, helping employers to balance the need for surveillance with respect for the privacy of their employees.
  • Disciplinary Actions for Social Media Misuse: In some instances it may be necessary for an employer to take disciplinary action against employees who misuse social media in a way that impacts the company. This could include harassing colleagues online, sharing confidential information, or posting defamatory content about the company or its clients. Our solicitors can offer advice on how to handle these situations fairly and legally, including carrying out investigations and actioning disciplinary procedures.
  • Social Media in Recruitment: During the recruitment process, employers may need to seek legal advice on how to use social media without breaching discrimination laws. Our solicitors can provide guidance to employers on the lawful vetting of the social media profiles of candidates, ensuring that recruitment processes remain fair and non-discriminatory.
  • Breach of Contract: Our solicitors can assist in cases where an employee’s social media activity has breached the terms of their employment contract, for example non-disparagement agreements or confidentiality clauses.
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