REFLECT – PAUSE BEFORE YOU POST
BLACKS SOLICITORS’ LUKE PATEL CONSIDERS THE IMPLICATIONS OF MISUSING MODERN TECHNOLOGY AND SOCIAL MEDIA
Black Mirror, the darkly satirical TV show that looks at the consequences of modern technology, has become a glimpse into the potential of our digitally focused future, both good and bad (but usually bad).
By cleverly tapping into our deepest fears every episode shows how the consequences of abusing the technology we rely on to entertain us and keep us connected, and which has brought us so many opportunities, can be catastrophic – like those terrifying killer robot dogs (if anyone gets you one as present in the future, just politely decline… you can thank us later!).
So before we descend into a dystopian nightmare, Luke Patel, a Partner at Blacks Solicitors took a moment to consider the implications of misusing technology in the present day, where the line between work and home for both employers and employees, has become increasingly blurred through the use of modern technology and social media.
“The main issue for employers in terms of social media use is the loss of productivity and the possible infringement of data protection, but just as important are the risks of criticism of the employer by employees, and bullying of colleagues by employees.
“When it comes to bullying or harassment, employers should treat any incidents as if they had happened in the workplace. Employers should conduct an investigation to establish the facts and give the employee a chance to respond.
“Employers should therefore put in place clear guidelines within their IT policy on internet use in
the workplace and what is, and is not, acceptable. This should include personal and company smartphones and social media, ensuring that clear guidelines are in place for managers and HR who are recruiting for new staff and for existing employees. One of the best solutions is to talk to your staff and be honest. If you are planning on monitoring employees’ computers, inform them. You are not trying to catch them out. Remind them though, that policies on bullying in the workplace are also extended to cyber- bullying.”
On the subject of employees Luke continued, “Employees are responsible for what they use their work computers for and for checking the privacy settings of their social media accounts.
“Think long and hard before writing anything negative about your workplace or a colleague on social media or in an email, even if you don’t mention them by name. You may have a private Facebook profile, but that does not stop anyone from copy and pasting your status and sending it to your boss.”
Luke Patel heads up the Commercial Dispute Resolution team at Blacks Solicitors. For a free no obligation discussion email LPatel@LawBlacks. com, or call 0113 227 9316. Alternatively, please visit www.lawblacks.com for more information about our services.