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To Tweet or Not To Tweet—Understanding the Risks in Social Media

By: Kenneth C. Hegel Jr.
Posted: July 13, 2011, from the July 2011 issue of GCI Magazine.

page 5 of 6

To understand how social media fits under EPLI coverage, consider two very plausible examples.

The first: An employee at a manufacturing company has a confrontation with his manager in front of his fellow employees. Later that day, the employee posts comments on his personal Facebook page about the manager being a “jerk” and notes how much better the company would be if the manager were to get fired. Management finds out about the post and terminates the employee.

The employee sues the employer for invasion of privacy. Another example worth mentioning: An employee working at a retail store posts some harsh words on a newly hired employee’s social networking page. Several fellow employees find the post amusing and add additional comments and unflattering statements about the new employee. The new employee sues the store for not preventing workplace bullying or a hostile work environment.

Overall, it is clear that social media can have a positive impact on business with its ability to help grow and expand the number of people touched on a daily basis. However, it is equally important to understand today’s changing legal environment and address the many diverse and new exposures that the use of this exciting new technology does bring. Staying informed and being diligent in the approach to the use and monitoring of social media platforms as they relate to your business and brands will ensure that the pros of using this new and innovative technology will far outweigh the cons.

Tweet responsibly!