Social media and instant messaging activities can include, but are not limited to:

The widespread availability of social media means it is important to understand how to use it effectively and sensibly, both in the workplace and in your own time.

This policy aims to ensure that our reputation is not adversely affected by the use of social media and instant messaging applications.

Proposals to use any social media or instant messaging applications as part of your role within the business must be approved by your line manager. Use of social media and instant messaging for personal reasons does not need to be approved by your line manager but this should not be done in work time. Bear in mind that even if you are using social media and instant messaging in a personal capacity, other users who are aware of your association with us might reasonably think that you speak on our behalf. You should bear in mind at all times any adverse impact your content might have on our reputation or relationships with colleagues, suppliers or clients.

The following terms should be adhered to at all times, including during periods of leave and outside normal working hours:

You should have no expectation of privacy or confidentiality in anything you create or share on social media or instant messaging platforms. You should note that, even if a profile is set to “private”, it is not considered private by us as it can be viewed by your contacts. In addition, you should be aware that anyone accessing your posts and contributions can easily copy and forward them on to others, potentially accessing a far bigger audience than you had intended. Any adverse comments made in relation to us, your colleagues, or our clients or suppliers may lead to damage to the reputation of our business. In these circumstances, you may find yourself liable to disciplinary action.

Our Use of Computer Equipment Policy, in particular in relation to our right to monitor applies equally to the use of social media platforms.

Content that you publish in our name on your own personal social media or instant messaging accounts which could cause damage to our business or our employees may lead to disciplinary action. If the content is particularly offensive or amounts to online bullying / harassment, this will be considered to be a gross misconduct offence in accordance with our disciplinary rules.

In addition to taking care over content published by you, you must not associate yourself with any adverse comment or publication by a third party that relates, or may reasonably be interpreted as relating, to our organisation or anyone working in it. This includes “liking”, “commenting”, “sharing”, “re-tweeting” or in any other way associating with any content published on social media that appears to relate to your place of work or someone associated with it. If you see any comment that appears to relate negatively to the organisation or anyone associated with it, you should not engage in any way with the comment and instead immediately inform your line manager. Any employee who in any way associates with a comment online in the circumstances prohibited in this paragraph is liable to face disciplinary action which, depending upon the circumstances, may lead to dismissal.

This handbook has been prepared by Mark Mason Employment Law Consultancy for the exclusive use of Bumbles Day Care Limited and is not to be made available for use within any other organisation.