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Smart workplace advice

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Opportunities for misuse of social media in the workplace are greater than ever and it is now a fundamental aspect of any contemporary employer to be able to confidently deal with inevitable social media misconduct.

Rather than suffer the consequences of mismanagement, these DOs and DON’Ts will point you in the right direction when it comes to undertaking a social media misconduct investigation.


  • Have a social media policy outlining acceptable and unacceptable social media behaviour
  • Remember that the workplace is no longer constrained to just the office – social media can evidence misconduct across a number of different scenarios
  • Take note of current decisions and literature relating to social media use in the workplace
  • Investigate allegations of misconduct properly and efficiently (i.e. put allegations to employee, provide an opportunity to respond, take into account personal circumstances and the seriousness of the breach)
  • Implement adequate IT infrastructure to help support the policy and manage social media use


  • Introduce ad-hoc social media access restrictions – thanks to smart phones and tablets, if an employee can’t get their Facebook fix through the work computer they will use another platform which can affect productivity
  • Implement a policy without inducting employees – it’s useless if they are unaware of their obligations
  • Forget your legal obligations as an employer – in particular procedural fairness
  • Encourage or pressure employees to give up passwords, or usernames in an HR investigation – its not a good look in a subsequent unfair dismissal case

By actively managing the risks of social media use in the contemporary workplace, and keeping abreast of correct HR investigation procedures, employers will give themselves the best chance of avoiding the fallout of a mismanaged social media misconduct investigation.

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