Labor & Employment

New Legal Frontier: Facebook Suits?

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Employers in the United Kingdom need to have clear-cut policies about employees logging onto Facebook and other social networking sites at work. Otherwise, it’s just a question of time until some they get sued, experts warn.

But a total ban on Facebook use, tempting though it seems to certain employers, isn’t necessarily the best practice, worker advocates contend. Instead, they recommend, employers simply need to have a definite, uniform policy, reports the London Times.

However, at least one British lawyer says a total ban is fine—and should be considered not only for workers but the boss, too.

“This area is a minefield for employers and employees alike. Many people will put very private and personal information they would not want an employer to know on an internet site where it can be read by anyone,” Chris Boyle, head of employment at Napthens Solicitors, tells the Times. “But for an employer to use this to make a decision on hiring and firing is not jut sensible and raises many legal issues, not least of which is privacy.”

One major London law firm that tried to impose a Facebook ban earlier this year, though, was prompted by employee complaints to make what the Times refers to as “an embarassing U-turn.” As discussed in an earlier post on Facebook use by employees, Allen & Overy now bans workers only from viewing videos on Facebook.

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