More often than not, individuals misusing social media end up being dismissed.  However, these dismissals are not always seen by an Employment Tribunal to be a fair dismissal and in one recent case the tribunal awarded the individual £11,350 in compensation. 

So, what should employers be doing to avoid damage to their reputations and to ensure they manage issues correctly?

Organisations need to protect their business from the poor publicity these cases inevitably brings about, they also need to ensure that they are protected from any liability for harassment and bullying of other employees which might arise as a result of the misuse of social networking sites.
Therefore, a good policy is essential. The policy should address behaviours both in and outside the workplace and include social media. Any restrictions on what an employee can do out of work needs to focus on the potential damage to the company's reputation or that of its customers, clients or any other commercial partners.

Any policy also needs to be general enough to cover any changes in technology or new social media applications which might not exist when the policy is drafted. In addition it should also clearly describe what disciplinary action, including dismissal or gross misconduct, may be taken as a result of the misuse.
It is also worth including guidance about acceptable use of social media for business purposes. 

In addition, employers should also ensure that employees are clear about the organisation's expectations in relation to social networking sites and the impact and consequences of their actions.

Employing people feel like a mine field? Need HR help? Wish you had the confidence to change things?