Starting in July in the U.S. State of South Carolina, employees of the state will be banned from using social media at work.
The move to ban use of social media is a part of a new code of conduct. The code of conduct has been designed to make the public confident in the State Government. The ban will prevent State employees from using social media on State equipment, unless it is a part of their job, and prohibit them from using social media platforms whilst on duty.
So do citizens of South Carolina view use of social media at work a waste of public resources? Perhaps so. 64% of employees in the US visit non-work related websites every day and many of these are social media networks. Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and SnapChat are the most popular - in that order.
Some use of social media at work – depending on what it is being used for and the working time spent on it – may give rise to disciplinary action by an employer. However, some people use social media to stay connected when they’re at work, and many employers recognise that reasonable use of social media in non-working time (e.g. at lunch-breaks or after close of business) is not damaging. It’s equivalent to being able to make reasonable personal phone calls during the working day.
One huge advantage of access to social media sites such as Twitter at work is the speed with which employees can hear of breaking news or find out time-sensitive information which may be relevant to their work. Employees’ access to that sort of information will be cut if their access to social media is denied. When social media is used as a learning network, ideas can be shared with ease and knowledge passed on from trusted peers.
Julie Morris, National Practice Group Leader of the Employment Team at Slater and Gordon says “Social media is a part of everyday life now for most people, like sending an email or using the phone. If employers want to limit its use, they should communicate their policy clearly to the workforce.”
The expert Employment Solicitors at Slater and Gordon Lawyers UK can provide legal support for people with employment disciplinary hearings. For an initial consultation call us on freephone 0800 916 9060 or contact us online.