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Employ a 'Trevor' and you'll need to watch his personal social media profiles very closely

by , 08 April 2015
Poor Trevor Noah. He's just landed the gig of a lifetime as the host of The Daily Show. And now he's surrounded by controversy.

So much, in fact, that yesterday, the American Jewish Congress called on the show's producers to fire him.

This after journalists combed through years of his tweets and came up with a handful of jokes that took shots at Israel, overweight women and other apparently off-limits targets, reveals Mediaite.

And that begs the question doesn't it. Are the personal views your employees (or potential employees) express on their social media profiles your company's concern? And should they be?

Read on to find out what the experts think...


Your employee's social media profile and your business: What's the link?

This topic sure is a sticky one. 
After all, says the Wall Street Journal, many people believe that 'what people post on social networks is private and perfectly harmless, and has no bearing on their work. These critics also argue that companies often do these searches out of prudery or as ideological witch hunts.'
But is that really the case?
Not any more. 
Worldwide, we're seeing a shift in the boundaries between work and personal life. And those boundaries are blurring rapidly. 
So it makes sense that we've recently seen dozens of cases where companies managed to prove that their decision to fire an employee for comments they made on a personal social media profiles were completely fair. 
This despite many of these cases revealed that these employees accessed these sites on their own personal computer or smartphone, outside working hours, and their profile page didn't state where they work. 
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Part-Time CCMA Commissioner reveals:
'If you want to stay out of the CCMA, you need to have these 50 HR policies and procedures in place in your company!'

So what do you need to do to make it perfectly clear to your employees what you will and won't tolerate them posting on social media?

Put a social media policy in place of course.

And when you do, make sure yours clearly stipulates, with examples, what online behaviour you consider unacceptable in and outside of work. 
In this policy, explain that, 'while your company appreciates that employees want to express themselves in the virtual world, problems may arise if their personal posts appear to be associated with the company or violate the rights of the company or other employees,' advises employment lawyer Lisa Guerin.

Here are some of the topics she says your social media policy should cover:

* Company resources. In your policy, prohibit employees from using your company equipment, network or time to write or publish personal content.
* Protect your intellectual property. Your social media policy should remind your employees that 'company policies prohibiting harassment, protecting trade secrets, and so on apply whether an employee makes these statements online or in the bricks and mortar world,' explains Guerin.
* Protect your company name. If employees choose to identify themselves as employees of your company, whether through an online post or having your company's name stated on their place of work, your policy must be clear that they must state any views they express online are their own and don't speak for your company.
* Inappropriate comments. 'Inform employees that it is inappropriate to make embarrassing or unkind comments about employees, customers, clients, or competitors. Remind them that personal posts can be read by virtually anyone and that they should use common sense when deciding what types of content are appropriate,' concludes Guerin.
If you don't have a policy in place protecting your company from what your employees say on social media, put one in place today. It's the only way to protect your reputation.

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