Employers should ensure that they have coherent internet policies in place which cover employee use of social networking sites both in and out of the office in order to prevent the employer being potentially liable for discrimination claims.

Facebook has recently had to close down a forum when members of the group began posting offensive photographs of disabled people on the site. Employers should be mindful of such activities as an Employment Tribunal could draw an adverse inference about the prevailing attitudes of an employer’s workplace if there is evidence of discriminatory attitudes amongst its employees.

Employers must make it clear to employees that improper social use of the internet, even outside the workplace, can have disciplinary consequences especially if it tarnishes the employer’s reputation or leaves it open to potential discrimination claims.