Social media in employment


May 19 2014


Social media is the new business lunch, promotional pamphlet, business card, word of mouth – the new ‘normal’. But, who owns the Twitter followers, Facebook friends and LinkedIn connections developed by your employee when carrying out their duties for your business?

Cases overseas are beginning to emerge that deal with this issue. Without a clear determination on this issue in New Zealand, however, employers will be better placed by having a clear social media policy detailing their position with respect to these matters and/or agreeing such matters with your employees at the beginning of the employment relationship. The policy or agreement should include not only the general use of social media, but also the management and ownership of connections created and maintained via social media during your employee’s employment.

Some suggested ways of managing this issue include agreeing with your employee that:

  • They provide a list of their connections before they depart so you can then make necessary contact with those connections
  • They delete from their account all connections made during their employment in relation to the business, or
  • You are entitled to control the account for a particular period following their departure.

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