Labour Research February 2016

Law Queries

Use of personal social media

Q. A member’s employer wants a complete ban on use of personal social media accounts at work. Is this allowed?

A. There is no legislation against this, and many unions are of the view that blanket bans are unnecessarily restrictive.

Inappropriate use of social media at work may result in disciplinary action against employees. In the circumstances, it is best for everyone concerned to have a clear internet policy in place.

This situation may provide a great opportunity for organising and recruiting. You could try to persuade the employer that an agreed policy would be far more constructive than a ban. Most employers don’t adopt blanket bans, and such restrictive measures may negatively impact on the employer’s recruitment and retention.

You could lead the process by approaching employees to establish what they would like in the policy. This is a way to engage with members and demonstrate how unions can help.