Social media sites are ripe with casual but potentially explosive comments by individuals discussing their glee over promotions, “fun” at the expense of someone else (you or your company), and other useful tidbits which can support your claim of wrongdoing. The purpose of this article is to offer the reader guidance on how to manage what your employees post through their social media presence and minimize the risk that a competitor identifies harmful information through an employee’s social media presence.
Aviation businesses often compete for a limited customer base. As a result, they tend to be hotspots for commercial disputes that may result in the filing of a Part 13 or Part 16 Complaint, or even a civil lawsuit in State or Federal Court. Therefore, you are probably already carefully monitoring the information that you share on your website or through your businesses’ social media accounts. Do you, however, monitor what your employees post as carefully?
Most people have some social media presence whether they use LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or Pinterest. Therefore, you should assume that all of your employees have some form of social media presence and, as an employer, you should be monitoring your employee’s social media presence. An employee boasting of having landed a deal for a new client or recommending your business for a new service that you are offering may be the smoking gun that your competitor is looking for to support a claim against your business.
Step One: Propose the policy: Your social media policy should include, at a minimum, the following provisions:
• Define social media;
• Remind employees that whether or not they specifically list you as an employer, an employee’s position with the employer may be generally known and/or publicly available;
• Advise employees they cannot share confidential or private information about the company’s business operations, products, services, employees and/or customers;
• Advise employees that they may never indicate or imply that they speak for the company or use the company’s logo without express written authorization from the company;
• Advise employees they should never use their employer issued email account or password in conjunction with a personal social networking site unless specifically authorized;
• Recommend employees take advantage of the privacy settings available and limit their audience; and
• Advise employees that they are personally and legally responsible for the content of their social media activity and the commentary they post and that they can be held liable for unlawful activities .
The following additional steps should be implemented as well to minimize the risk created by an employee’s social media activity:
(2) Publish and circulate the social media policy to your employees;
(3) Monitor employee compliance with the social media policy; and
(4) Discipline employees who fail to comply.
Paul A. Lange
Paul A. Lange LLC
Lange founded and leads the law offices of Paul A. Lange LLC with offices in Conn. and NY. The firm practices nationwide and internationally in various aviation-related legal matters including airport development, financing, regulatory enforcement matters and disputes.
Alison L. McKay
Paul A. Lange LLC
McKay focuses her practice primarily on employment, litigation and insurance. She recently litigated the successful defense in U.S. District Court of an airport fixed-base operator from Rehabilitation Act claims.