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How to avoid employee slander on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter

by , 04 March 2013
What's the procedure you should follow if you catch an employee slandering or making malicious statements about your company on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter? Read on to discover the answer...

One of the biggest surprises that occurred during the bail hearing of paralympian Oscar Pristorius was the role of social networking sites in keeping the public up to date with happenings in the court.

Social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter were abuzz with updates from the court room as well as public opinion on what should happen to Pristorius. Some of the comments posted bordered on defamation.

And it's not just individuals like Pristorius that come under fire on social networking sites. These days, more and more company's are discovering the steps they can take if an employee slanders them on social media. It's time you do the same.

Don't let social media abuse from employees put your company's reputation in danger

Open the newspaper these days, and you're likely to find an article about an employee being fired for complaining about his boss on Facebook or being suspended for posting Facebook updates the employers considered unacceptable.

'Your employee can make statements in private, or on social networking sites, if he can prove they're true,' says Taryn Strugnell of the Labour Bulletin.

Essentially, if an employee slanders you on social networking sites, it'll be seen as a breach of his common law duty to you to uphold the company's reputation and not bring it into disrepute. And that means he can face disciplinary action for his actions, Strugnell adds.

Use these three tips to prevent employees complaining about your company on social networking sites

The Labour Bulletin outlines three steps you can take to prevent public employee slander:

1. Remind employees that your company has an internal grievance policy they must use to deal with their gripes against the company. 

2. Block Facebook (and other social networking sites) at work.

3. Institute a workplace communication policy to stop employees from bringing your company into disrepute in their private time, irrespective of how they do it. Remind them that the Internet is a public domain and you can use anything negative an employee posts on social networking sites about your company against him. Make sure this is clear in your employment contract so that once an employee signs the contract, you can hold them liable for social media abuse.

Don't let employee slander ruin your company's reputation. Use the three tips outlined above to ensure your employees understand the consequences they face if they vent their workplace frustrations on social networking sites.

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