Salon and Spa Law: Employee use of social media

The use of social media by business is growing dramatically as salons understand and use this is a tool for building brand and engaging with their clients. Problems can occur when the line between business and personal use become blurred; following on from their 2011 article on protecting online reputations, Wright & Wright have developed a checklist of best practice for salons to consider regarding employee use of social media.  They are also offering a standard social media policy for free to salon clients – you can contact them on salon@wrightandwright.com for a copy..

Adopt a social media policy

  • Send a clear signal about salon expectations for employee use of social media by adopting a stand-alone social media policy or including one in an employee handbook.
  • Use the policy to remind employees that social media activity in the salon is not necessarily private and that the employer can discipline employees for conduct that breaches employee policies in the social media arena, just as in other arenas. Also remind them that online conduct harmful to the salon can amount to misconduct or in some cases gross misconduct.
  • Include appropriate restrictions covering:
    • employee use of salon IT resources;
    • employee use of salon confidential and privileged information;
    • protection of client confidentiality and privacy;
    • prohibition on harassment or bullying of other employees;
    • prohibition on discrimination; and
    • prohibition on negative comments about the salon, its employees, business contacts or competitors.
    • Ensure the social media policy is consistent with other policies
    • Preserve good business relationships and promote a positive corporate image by:
      • specifically prohibiting defamation through social media in the employment contract; and
      • amending policies to ensure that employees understand that social media messages may reflect on their employer. Consider requiring employees to state in their social media postings that their views do not necessarily reflect the views of the salon.

 

Protect confidential information

  • Educate employees about the consequences of disclosing or misusing the salon’s confidential information in the social media context.
  • An employee’s disclosure or misuse of confidential information could:
    • result in breach of the employment contract;
    • breach the terms of a confidentiality agreement between the salon and a third party, causing the company to be in breach;
    • create embarrassment or confusion among employees or clients;
    • Amend company policies and employment contracts to address these risks.

 

Prevent harassment and bullying via social media

  • Include references to social media in anti-harassment and anti-bullying policies and in any training offered to prevent workplace harassment.

 

Train employees

  • Train human resources management on appropriate and effective employee monitoring and enforcement of the various salon policies, restrictions, guidelines and contract provisions relating to social media.

In summary

Do:

  • Adopt a social media policy to encourage appropriate employee use of social media.
  • Use the policy to prohibit employees using social media in ways that could damage the salon.
  • Provide training to employees on the appropriate use of social media, and monitor for compliance.

Do not:

  • Allow employees to disclose or misuse confidential or proprietary information.
  • Permit employees to use social media to harass colleagues.
  • Impose unnecessary restrictions on employee use of social media.

 

 

15 May 2012

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