Feeds

Acas publishes first social media guide

UK workplace rulebook to save heartache and cash

The essential guide to IT transformation

Acas has published a new guide to social networking in the workplace, which it says is the first in the UK. The employment body said the guide is aimed at helping businesses, staff and trade unions agree on how to handle employment issues related to the internet, blogs and social media websites such as Twitter and Facebook.

Almost six out of 10 employees now use social media at work whether on computers or mobile phones, according to Acas figures. This can lead to problems with staff members wasting work time on personal webpages, posting derogatory comments about managers and colleagues, or buying and selling online.

Misuse of the internet and social media by employees is estimated to cost the UK economy up to £14bn a year, according to the guidance.

However the guide warns against "knee-jerk reactions" and urges employers to consider the "moral intensity" of any offensive content published before proceeding with disciplinary action.

Acas recommends that employers consult staff and trade unions before publishing their own policies, and should also make the consequences of breaching any policy clear in employment contracts.

It stresses that the employer, staff and unions agree to protect employees' freedom of speech and so that staff and managers feel protected against online bullying and damage to the company's reputation.

It also urges employers to keep the policy up to date to reflect the speed of change in the technology and its uses.

John Taylor, Acas chief executive, stressed that employees' conduct online should be subject to the same standards as their conduct in the workplace.

"Employees should assume that everything they say on the internet could be made public, and should think whether they want their colleagues or boss to read it. They might not mean it, but what they post could end up being seen by billions of people worldwide," he said.

However he stressed that any monitoring of online activity should be proportionate. "A manager wouldn't follow an employee down the pub to check on what he or she said to friends about their day at work. Just because they can do something like this online doesn't mean they should," he said.

The guide also warns employers about the risks of searching for information about potential employees online and using any personal information found during the recruitment process.

Managers risk being sued for discrimination "if they refuse to interview someone as a result of a judgement they made based on a social networking profile", it says.

Copyright © 2011, OUT-LAW.com

OUT-LAW.COM is part of international law firm Pinsent Masons.

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

More from The Register

next story
6 Obvious Reasons Why Facebook Will Ban This Article (Thank God)
Clampdown on clickbait ... and El Reg is OK with this
Mozilla's 'Tiles' ads debut in new Firefox nightlies
You can try turning them off and on again
No, thank you. I will not code for the Caliphate
Some assignments, even the Bongster decline must
Banking apps: Handy, can grab all your money... and RIDDLED with coding flaws
Yep, that one place you'd hoped you wouldn't find 'em
TROLL SLAYER Google grabs $1.3 MEEELLION in patent counter-suit
Chocolate Factory hits back at firm for suing customers
Primetime precrime? Minority Report TV series 'being developed'
I have to know. I have to find out what happened to my life
Netflix swallows yet another bitter pill, inks peering deal with TWC
Net neutrality crusader once again pays up for priority access
Ex-IBM CEO John Akers dies at 79
An era disrupted by the advent of the PC
prev story

Whitepapers

Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up distributed data
Eliminating the redundant use of bandwidth and storage capacity and application consolidation in the modern data center.
The essential guide to IT transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIOs automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.