Welcome to the William Fry Employment Snapshot 2016 which looks at social media in the workplace over the last 12 months. Social media platforms continue to raise issues from an employment law perspective. In our 2013, 2014 and 2015 social media reports, we examined employment related trends and issues affecting employers in Ireland. Our 2016 snapshot explores those developments and changes which have occurred in the area in the last year. As in previous years, the research for our snapshot was conducted with almost 500 employees in domestic and international organisations based in Ireland. Our research found that the percentage of employees who use their personal device to access social media at work has increased since 2013 by 18% to 78%. Accordingly, it is vital that organisations address use on personal devices as well as company devices when preparing their policies. In addition, the vast majority of employees (96%) said their employer has never discussed with them what will happen to any work-related contacts held on their personal
social media accounts once they leave employment. With the market continuing to pick up and employees moving from one job to another with more frequency and speed, this is another area that organisations need to address to prevent the loss of valuable contacts and information. Finally, case law emerging in Ireland over the last 12 months highlights the continuing need for employers to have a well-defined policy in place in order to have a defence to claims of vicarious liability brought by employees against the organisation in relation to the conduct of their colleagues. We hope you find this snapshot interesting and informative and we welcome your feedback. Follow us @WFEmploymentlaw
Alicia Compton Partner
Catherine O'Flynn Partner
OUR SURVEY RESULTS
MEN SPEND MORE TIME ON SOCIAL MEDIA THAN WOMEN DURING THE WORKING DAY
29MIN SPENT ON SOCIAL MEDIA DURING THE WORKING DAY
EMPLOYEES USE PERSONAL DEVICES TO ACCESS SOCIAL MEDIA AT WORK
25% OF EMPLOYEES NOT SURE IF
EMPLOYER HAS A
SOCIAL MEDIA POLICY IN PLACE
EMPLOYERS WITH A SOCIAL MEDIA POLICY IN PLACE
36% OF EMPLOYEES SAID EMPLOYER DOES NOT HAVE A SOCIAL MEDIA POLICY IN PLACE
EMPLOYEES WITH WORK-RELATED CONTACTS ON PERSONAL SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNTS
EMPLOYEES SAY THAT EMPLOYERS HAVE
NEVER DISCUSSED 83% 96% WHAT WILL HAPPEN
TO WORK-RELATED 2013 2016 CONTACTS AFTER
EMPLOYEES SAY WHAT PROSPECTIVE EMPLOYERS MIGHT SEE ON SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNTS INFLUENCES THEIR POSTS
24% OF EMPLOYEES
USE SOCIAL MEDIA TO APPLY FOR JOBS
BEST PRACTICE - RECRUITMENT / HR
COMPLY WITH DATA PROTECTION AND EQUALITY L AW REQUIREMENTS IF DEALING WITH CANDIDATE INFORMATION SOURCED FROM SOCIAL MEDIA
DO NOT BASE A DECISION TO REJECT A CANDIDATE ON DISCRIMINATORY GROUNDS AS IDENTIFIED IN EQUALITY LEGISLATION
ENSURE EMPLOYMENT CONTRACTS REFER TO RELEVANT HR POLICIES INCLUDING SOCIAL MEDIA AND CONTAIN GOOD CONFIDENTIALITY PROTECTIONS AND APPROPRIATE POST TERMINATION RESTRICTIONS
IF DISCIPLINING EMPLOYEES FOR A SOCIAL MEDIA BREACH, F OLLOW FAIR INVESTIGATORY AND DISCIPLINARY PROCEDURES AND ENSURE DISCIPLINARY SANCTIONS ARE CONSISTENT AND PROPORTIONATE TO THE CIRCUMSTANCES
BEST PRACTICE - POLICY
PUT A SOCIAL MEDIA POLICY IN PLACE, MAKE SURE THE POLICY IS RELEVANT TO YOUR ORGANISATION AND SPECIFIC AS TO PROHIBITED ACTIVITY
ADVISE EMPLOYEES TO USE PRIVACY SETTINGS/LOCK DEVICES TO MINIMISE THE RISK OF UNAUTHORISED ACCESS TO DEVICES
IF YOUR ORGANISATION HAS SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNTS OPERATED BY EMPLOYEES, STATE CLEARLY HOW SUCH ACCOUNTS ARE TO BE MANAGED
COMMUNICATE THE SOCIAL M EDIA POLICY TO EMPLOYEES
ENSURE THE POLICY COVERS EMPLOYEE CONDUCT BOTH DURING AND OUTSIDE WORKING HOURS AND ACTIVITY ON EMPLOYEE-OWNED DEVICES
REVIEW THEPOLICY REGULARLY
MAKE CLEAR IN THE P OLICY THAT BREACH MAY LEAD TO DISCIPLINARY ACTION
SET GUIDELINES ON EMPLOYEES POSTING OR RESPONDING TO COMMENTS ABOUT YOUR ORGANISATION ON SOCIAL MEDIA
BEST PRACTICE - USAGE
ADDRESS THE ISSUE OF OWNERSHIP OF FOLLOWERS/CONTACTS/FRIENDS ON EMPLOYEES' PERSONAL SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNTS
ADVISE EMPLOYEES TO THINK BEFORE THEY USE S OCIAL MEDIA AND TO REMEMBER THIRD PARTY RIGHTS SUCH AS COPYRIGHT AND DEFAMATION
REMEMBER THAT EMPLOYERS MAY BE HELD LIABLE FOR ACTS OF BULLYING, HARASSMENT OR DISCRIMINATION CARRIED OUT BY EMPLOYEES ON SOCIAL MEDIA SITES AND THAT IT IS NOT ESSENTIAL THAT THE WRONGDOER BE ACTING IN CAPACITY AS AN EMPLOYEE
RETAIN OWNERSHIP AND KNOWLEDGE OF ALL USERNAMES AND PASSWORD DETAILS FOR ORGANISATION'S SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNTS
DO NOT ALLOW EMPLOYEES TO POST BUSINESS INFORMATION O N PERSONAL SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNTS
SOCIAL MEDIA AROUND THE WORLD
William McCamley v Dublin Bus 2016
Company rule prohibiting conduct `prejudicial to the reputation and welfare of fellow employees' was held to be an effective provision to protect employees from harassment.
While the Company rule was not an adequate substitute for a welldefined policy against the use of social media as an instrument of harassment, it was nonetheless a comprehensive provision aimed at protecting employees.
Employer could avail of the defence that preventative measures were taken before the occurrence of the offending conduct.
Brbulescu v Romania 2016
Access to private messages sent on company messaging system not a breach of employee's right to privacy.
Interference must be limited in scope, proportionate and serve a legitimate objective, such as proving a disciplinary breach.
It is not blanket permission for employers to monitor the contents of their employees' private communication.
CDM Media USA Inc v Simms 2015
Social media contacts and control of groups linking professionals together based on a common interest can be considered trade secrets.
The federal court in Illinois noted that the names of LinkedIn group members would be extremely valuable information to competitors.
British Waterways Board v Smith 2015 Dismissal due to comments on Facebook posted two years previously upheld due in part to comprehensive social media policy. Whitmar Publications
v Gamage 2013 Work-related social
media data maintained on work IT systems are property of employer.
The research in this report was undertaken by iReach Market Research. A range of questions relating to social media in the workplace was asked of 493 employees of companies operating in Ireland with 50 employees or more. All interviews were conducted in March 2016.
iReach Insights Limited is a full Marketing and Research Agency, across all research disciplines and methodologies.
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(Legal 500 EMEA, 2016)
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