Is Employer Monitoring of Employee Social Media Justified? Essay

687 Words Dec 3rd, 2013 3 Pages
Is Employer Monitoring of Employee Social Media Justified?

Bus 330
Social networks have been making a splash in the internet world over the past couple of years. In some studies into the monitoring of social media activity by employees has
once again brought to light the various concerns and complaints that this contentious area inevitably generates. The idea of monitoring employees’ conversations has a certain Orwellian darkness that encourages accusations of privacy invasion and corporate spying. Indeed, some companies have taken this too far – some reportedly even requesting their employee’s Facebook login details. However, by and large the concept of employee monitoring – when done appropriately – seems to me to be relatively
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There are, of course, grey areas within this debate. It is appropriate that any social media post that identifies the individual’s employer is of justified interest to that employer. However, where an individual discusses work situations without identifying the employer it is perhaps harder to justify this intrusion. The obvious line here is that companies should, by and large, restrict themselves to monitoring mentions of their brand or senior executives and should stay away from monitoring individual staff names on their own unless otherwise justified.
Indeed, we have picked up significant quantities of content from client’s employees without specifically monitoring for individuals. Examples include a delivery driver who tweeted about how little work he did and an individual who expressed support for a group protesting against their employer. These posts – where the individual clearly named their employer – could have had a significant impact on the companies’ public reputations and therefore were of justified interest to the companies in question.
Yes, there are subsequent questions about how a company should act upon this sort of information. Whether one should discipline an employee for discussing workplace conditions online could be a legal minefield, but that is an HR issue and not a monitoring one. What seems certain is that…