Ten things to remember when using social media

Social media has become a hugely popular method of communication for people of all ages.

Users of Facebook and Twitter are posting and tweeting on a daily basis from their phones, tablets and desktop computers to keep in touch with friends, share their thoughts and be the first to hear the latest news.

But what does this mean for your rights at work? We’ve put together some guidance on things to consider when using social media and how it could impact you at work…
  1. Read your company’s social media policy and be clear on it and the implications of ignoring it.

  2. Privacy settings aren’t always fully understood or as secure as you might think. There’s nothing to stop a friend sharing your comments to their friends who you may not want to see them.

  3. There’s no place in the modern workplace for unacceptable or offensive behaviour wherever it occurs (on the shopfloor or online). Companies have duties under the Equality Act to not discriminate against their staff or customers – you can be dismissed for insulting staff or customers on social media.

  4. Remember, anyone can be disciplined or sacked for the misuse of social media.

  5. You can be sacked for lying and revealing your actions on social media eg if you’re off sick you shouldn’t be posting about being in the pub or going on holiday.

  6. Don’t put anything on social media you wouldn’t say to someone’s face and never post if you are angry, upset or drunk.

  7. Don’t post offensive material – we all have opinions but if they’re racist, sexist or homophobic there are laws against that and rightly so. Be careful and think before you post – so-called ‘banter’ can be interpreted as offensive.

  8. It’s worth remembering that we’re all ambassadors for our company in one way or another. Employers monitor any mention of their company and are alerted immediately to negative comments.

  9. Companies also trawl social media to ‘check out’ potential employees’ – consider your future employment prospects and the repercussions of your social media profile.

  10. It’s a good communication channel, but think about what you are posting as the evidence is there in writing forever. It’s not like a private chat down the pub. So don’t criticise your employer, your colleagues or customers.

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The official website of the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers