Employment Law and Social Media: Balancing Free Speech and Workplace Rights

The use of social media has grown exponentially and the laws surrounding social media are still developing. When it comes to employment law, social media and free speech are complex topics where finding the right balance between free speech and workplace rights can be difficult. Consulting an employment law specialist in London & southeast England is advisable if you encounter workplace issues regarding social media.

Can an Employer Monitor an Employee’s Social Media?

If an employee is using a work social media account, then it will be acceptable to monitor what is being posted. However, the boundaries blur when an employee is using their own personal social media accounts. In general, employers have the right to monitor employee social media activity if they have a legitimate business reason to do so. What constitutes a legitimate business reason is not clearly defined and is likely to be different depending on the industry and the employer.

A UK employment advocate specialist will help you understand what would be considered acceptable. Avoiding violating an employee’s privacy rights is vital when monitoring social media as a UK employee rights lawyer will be available to support employees to bring a legal case.

Can an Employee be Disciplined for Social Media Posts?

Whilst it may seem unfair if comments are posted when employees are not in work, it is possible for employers to discipline employees for inappropriate posts. If posted while outside the workplace, generally the comments would need to relate to the workplace or the employment, or negatively impact the reputation of the organisation.

An employee has the right to express their personal beliefs, however, if their social media pages contain information about their employment, employees should be very careful about what they post. Having employment information on a social media bio can give employers more scope to monitor accounts and discipline employees for inappropriate views.

How to Avoid Employment Law Issues with Social Media

One of the most important things for employers to do is to have a clear social media policy in place. This policy should state what types of social media activity are allowed, what should be avoided, and whether the employer will be monitoring social media activity. If employers and employees understand what is expected of them, costly legal issues can be avoided.

Get Advice on Free Speech and Social Media in the Workplace

As an employment law specialist in London & southeast England, I am available to provide UK employment legal advice. At Robin Robison, I am an expert in employee rights in the UK and have been working as an employment lawyer in London and southeast England for many years.

This complex area of employment law needs to be navigated by a specialist so if you would like employment law advice in London and southeast England, contact Robin Robison today.