find the latest legal job
Senior Associate - Litigation & Dispute Resolution
Category: Litigation and Dispute Resolution | Location: Melbourne CBD & Inner Suburbs Melbourne VIC
· Come work for a firm ranked in Lawyers Weekly Top 25 Attraction Firms
View details
Associate - Workplace Relations & Safety
Category: Industrial Relations and Employment Law | Location: Brisbane CBD & Inner Suburbs Brisbane QLD
· Employer of choice · Strong team culture
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Banking and Finance Law | Location: All Perth WA
· Freelance opportunities through Vario from Pinsent Masons
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Other | Location: All Adelaide SA
· • Qualified lawyer with a strong academic background
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Other | Location: All Melbourne VIC
· • Qualified lawyer with a strong academic background
View details
Banning Facebook at work no solution

Banning Facebook at work no solution

Banning social media in the workplace is not an option for businesses, even if they are afraid of reputational damage and time wasting, according to experts in workplace and social media…

Banning social media in the workplace is not an option for businesses, even if they are afraid of reputational damage and time wasting, according to experts in workplace and social media law.

Speaking yesterday (8 November) at a conference on drafting social media policy for the workplace, Vivienne Storey, the general manager of Sydney-based boutique firm BlandsLaw, said attempting to ban the use of social media in the workplace is useless, and businesses are better off accepting it and preparing accordingly.

"If you're scared about what people are going to say about you [on social media], they are going to say it anyway," she said. "It is better to engage in the discussion. Be involved ... Banning social media is not an option. Don't blame the tool."

BlandsLaw was holding the seminar for a variety of not-for-profit, government, media and pharmaceuticals companies with the aim of allowing them to draft an effective social media policy and allay some of their fears.

"People want to know how far they can expect to control an employee's behaviour out of hours. How far-reaching can a social media policy be in terms of personal social media use?" Storey told Lawyers Weekly.

"They are worried about reputational risk, and disclosure of confidential information and intellectual property. They are concerned about social media becoming an excessive distraction at work, resulting in loss of productivity. They want to know what to include in a social media policy and how to implement it."

Common sense does not have common features

One key mistake made by businesses when drafting social media policy, said Storey, is advising employees to simply use "common sense" when tweeting or posting comments on Facebook. But this, she said, is not sufficient to protect businesses from reputational damage, especially when "common sense" means such different things for different generations.

"A policy which asks for common sense is not good enough," she said. "What common sense is differs between the generations and the sexes. You can't define it."

Storey also said it is essential that employees are made aware of the very public nature of what they are doing when using social media, and fully understand the risks and responsibilities involved.

"A lot of people don't understand the public nature of social media," she said. "[It is] about as public as you can imagine. It's permanently public, and people don't get that."

Earlier this week, DLA Piper released the results of a survey that revealed close to two-thirds of internet users are clueless when it comes to their legal rights and responsibilities online.

According to the survey, 63 per cent of users have little or no awareness of their rights and responsibilities when posting comments on social media sites, and 52 per cent of Twitter users do not consider whether their tweet could be in breach of the law before they send it.

Storey said that ensuring employees are aware of the realities behind social media is one way to minimise risk.

"When you start to consider [how public it is], it might just influence what you're tweeting," she said.

Storey pointed to the approach of the Department of Justice (DOJ) in Victoria as being an effective example of how employees can be educated about the potential ramifications of using social media, as well as their responsibilities in relation to what they say on such sites.

The DOJ produced a four-minute video, which it made public on YouTube, in order to bring awareness about social media into the workplace.

Storey said this is now an essential part of training in the workplace.

"You don't want to be unemployable in the future because of what you put out in public," she said.

Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

Banning Facebook at work no solution
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Oct 20 2017
Podcast: One of law’s most infamous alumni – in conversation with Julian Morrow
In this episode of The Lawyers Weekly Show, Melissa Coade is joined by The Chaser’s Julian Morrow....
Oct 20 2017
High Court overturns ‘excessive’ anti-protest legislation
Bob Brown’s recent victory in the High Court over the Tasmanian government was a win for fundament...
Oct 20 2017
Changes to Australian citizenship laws blocked
Attempts to beef up the requirements to obtain Australian citizenship were thwarted this week, after...
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...