Recently, there has been much news about social media getting people in trouble at work and in the public eye. From politicians losing their positions in office, to businesses firing both upper management and employees for “inappropriate tweets,” it’s clear that a social media policy for businesses is becoming a required element of any effective set of HR solutions.
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In the age of social media like Facebook and Twitter, school administrators are asking whether such electronic communication is appropriate between students and teachers. They are wondering where boundaries for such communication should be placed. Many school boards are choosing a strict path, forbidding or restricting any communication via social media between students and teachers.
Amy Hestir Student Protection Act, Banning teachers from communicating with their students, Conduct and behaviour in the workplace, education, electronic communication, Employee code of conduct, employment law, facebook, one-on-one means of communication, school boards, social media, twitter
So here’s a question to ask yourself—what are your legal obligations under Ontario law when you see an online photo of your worker committing violent acts?
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Internet communication through social networking (or social media), such as Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace and Twitter, is fast becoming the most popular mode of communication in the 21st century, and has facilitated freedom of expression and speech, globalization of information and even popular revolutions. Many people enjoy posting their personal views, opinions and musings on blogs, chat rooms, newspaper and magazine articles, and other forums on all topics—artistic, philosophical, educational, social, political and legal.
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I’ve caved. The end of my phone contract has been looming large, and as I pondered my options, somehow I thought, “I’d really like to be more connected.” So I’m ditching my two-year-old, decidedly not smart, flip phone and getting an iPhone—and a data plan. Soon I’ll be able to tweet and update my Facebook status and share photos wherever I am. And I’m afraid.
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The common meaning of multi-tasking is doing more than one thing at once, like walking and chewing gum. Do you hold several conversations at the same time—on the phone, on Facebook and in person? Do you listen to music or the radio or watch TV or eat lunch while you check your favourite blogs and watch your auctions on eBay? Do you have several work projects on the go, spread across your real and virtual desktops? Is it hard to keep track?
Technology usually helps us function by making daily tasks easier, safer, more efficient, and so on. But sometimes a technology comes along that doesn’t simply improve the way we do something, it actually creates a new type of behaviour. I think this is the case with online social networking, which allows individuals to broadcast to mass audiences in a way that wasn’t available in the past. The question remains, however, as to whether this activity makes life any easier! Some have certainly found it just causes them trouble.
We’ve heard a bunch of stories over the past year about companies firing or not hiring employees, or challenging their claims of illness, over inappropriate online behaviour, particularly comments and photos posted on Facebook and other social networking websites. While the media have made a big deal of these cases, none has had the profile of CNN’s recent firing of Middle East correspondent, Octavia Nasr. The US news giant felt Nasr had compromised her credibility by publicly tweeting her respect for a prominent Islamic cleric on his death. The Grand Ayatollah Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah had ties to controversial political action group Hezbollah.
To a casual observer, it might appear that time management has fallen to the wayside at many workplaces today: employees work well beyond their scheduled hours, including while on lunch breaks, during leisure time and social events and even on vacation. But with proper scheduling, time management should prevent work from expanding beyond regular work hours—as was the case before the Internet age. Instead, in the “knowledge economy”, where the smart phone rules, scheduled work hours have become nearly meaningless.
Some companies have applied traditional methods to the problem of social media at work: the soft approach attempts to monitor and regulate via policies; and the hard approach simply slams the door on employee access and use with a heavy hand. Neither of these works particularly well. The former will almost certainly lead to employee confusion and efforts—either intentional or not—to circumvent the policy, and the latter will likely result in discontented employees finding other ways to work around the blockade. In addition, both are difficult, if not impossible, to enforce fully; and attempts to bypass or evade controls could even lead to damage of physical or virtual IT resources.
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