When employees get on Facebook

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When employees get on Facebook

Team members can express themselves using social media—as long as everyone understands the boundaries.
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Dec 01, 2009
By dvm360.com staff

Q. I'm trying to come up with a policy that prohibits employees from posting information about co-workers on their Facebook page. What should our handbook say?


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In light of the ever-increasing popularity of sites like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, veterinary practices are well-advised to create policies that keep team members from using social media inappropriately, says Marty Miller, MBA, a senior professional in human resources with Veterinary Business Advisors in Flemington, N.J.

To create a social media protocol that protects your practice, clients, vendors, and team members, consider including a blanket policy in your employee handbook stating: "Unless specifically authorized by the hospital to do so as part of an employee's position, employees are not permitted to blog or use other forms of social media or technology on the Internet during working hours or at any time on hospital computers or other hospital-supplied devices. These actions can include but are not limited to video or wiki postings, chat room conversations, and posting on personal blogs or similar forms of online journals not affiliated with [hospital name]."

Now, there's no way you can control an employee's self-expression, nor should you want to. So make it clear that you don't discriminate against employees who use social media for personal use on their own time. But include these guidelines in your employee handbook:

> Bloggers are personally responsible for their commentary.

> Employees cannot use the Internet to harass, threaten, discriminate against, or disparage other employees or anyone associated with [hospital]. Negative statements about [hospital], its products and services, its team members, its clients, or any other related entity may lead to disciplinary action up to and including termination of employment. In addition, appropriate legal action may be taken if warranted.

> Employees who identify themselves as [hospital] employees must state that the views expressed are their own and not those of the hospital or of any person or organization affiliated with the hospital.

> Employees cannot post the name, trademark, logo, or any other privileged information associated with the hospital or any business connected to [hospital]. This includes posting hospital advertisements and selling hospital products.

> Employees cannot post photographs or videos of clients, vendors, other team members, suppliers, or people engaged in [hospital] business or events without express written consent and authorization from hospital management.

> Employees cannot link to [hospital]'s internal or external web site without obtaining permission.

> [Hospital] reserves the right to use content management tools to monitor, review, and block content on hospital blogs and Web site pages that violates [hospital] Internet rules and guidelines.

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