Employers may argue that they have legitimate business reasons to monitor their employees' use of social media: promoting productivity, protecting the employer's confidentiality, ensuring their reputation is not defamed, and protecting other employees from harassment or cyberbullying.
Because employees have the right to a certain degree of privacy in their social media activity, a best practice for employers is to adopt a comprehensive authorized use policy that guides employees' expectations of privacy. As social media evolves, the dos and don'ts of authorized use policies must also adapt.
Employers need to protect themselves against incurring liability for an employee's misuse of social media. While employers cannot monitor employees' private communications, actively monitoring employees' social media activity can create a duty on the part of the employer to take action, such as if it becomes aware of an employee making discriminatory or harassing posts. In that instance, the employer has a duty to report the illegal conduct. Otherwise, they may be liable, just as if the conduct was occurring in the workplace.
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