Connecticut Employment Law Blog Insight on Labor & Employment Developments for Connecticut Businesses

Recipe for Disaster: Who Owns Your Work-Related Social Media Accounts?

Posted in Highlight, Human Resources (HR) Compliance, Social Media

With all that was going on with the holidays, my colleague Peter Murphy reminds us that ownership of work-related social media is not an issue to take lightly.  Why? Well, let Peter take the story from there….

Back in May, Dan posted some very helpful advice to employers about ownership of work-related social media accounts. 

In short, clarifying corporate ownership of the account, ensuring that more than one employee has access to the account, and documenting such arrangements can go a long way to avoiding disputes if and when employees leave.

Although this blog is widely read and award winning in the United States [editor's note: Peter's flattery will get him everywhere in the office], apparently not all employers in Europe are reading it yet.

A restaurant in Britain, The Plough, fired its head chef in December, shortly before Christmas.

Although the restaurant terminated his employment, it did not terminate the Chef’s access to the restaurant’s Twitter.

In fact, it appears that the Chef is the only person with access to the Twitter account, as the Chef’s disparaging post-termination tweets are still on the account’s homepage three weeks after his termination:

Not only was the Chef allowed to disparage the restaurant to its own customers on Twitter, but his tweets also gave the restaurant unwanted attention all over the Internet.

People reading these tweets don’t know the circumstances behind the Chef’s termination, and his termination could have been very justified.

But because the restaurant failed to control its own social media account, the Chef’s tweets are setting the narrative.

Not a recipe for success.

Employers already use employment agreements, employment policies, and separation agreements to control messy post-employment situations. As this case demonstrates, clearly defined social media practices and policies are another important tool for controlling such situations.