As social media increasingly becomes a legitimate tool within the business, it’s only a matter of time before defamation lawsuits start flying as a result of employees’ unchecked comments. Borden Ladner Gervais defamation lawyer Kevin McGivney offers advice for avoiding getting served.By Kathleen Lau – ComputerWorld Canada
Establish a clear policy with respect to use of social media by employees on company machines. Whether engaging with social networking apps at work on a company PC or remotely on a company mobile device, employees must be made aware of the risks facing their employer.
By way of Webinars or staff training sessions, educate employees on the policy, the reasons for the policy, and the legal consequences of defamation. It’s not enough to just create a set of guidelines for appropriate behaviour; companies must ensure their employees understand the policies through proper education.
Establish a team of reviewers to vet content before it gets posted. Members of this team will be responsible for viewing content about to be posted to social networking sites to ensure it is appropriate and does not make the employer liable.
Encourage staff to pause and reflect before making a post to a social networking site. Self-monitoring is always a great precautionary step in the fast-paced process that is engaging with social networks.
Make Them Accountable
Establish policies for making employees accountable for their social media posts that are either work related or made from a work asset. Just because the business is not sued after a negative publication does not mean that it could not have been or should not have been. “Near misses” offer good training scenarios.