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Another day another ‘Twitter storm’-how you can prevent social media harming your business

The use (or misuse) of social media landing employees in hot water hit the headlines again yesterday as Bristol based stockbroker was fired and forced to apologise after tweeting a very poor taste ‘joke’.

Rayhan Qadar tweeted, ‘Think I just hit a cyclist. But Im (sic) late for work so I had to drive off lol.’ This created an almighty twitter storm where even the Greater Manchester Police urged him to come forward. The Avon and Somerset Police are investigating but Rayhan claims it was a joke.

His employer sacked him ‘with immediate effect’ over the ‘unacceptable’ message stating that their employee had, ‘failed to conduct themselves to the standards we expect of our staff.’

This situation should serve as a massive reminder for businesses to be prepared. Ensure you have a robust Social Media policy in place that covers both workplace use of company social media accounts and use of personal accounts. And always follow the proper HR disciplinary and dismissal procedures to ensure someone else’s misdemeanours don’t land you in court!

Ownership and use of social media accounts and the contacts associated with them is also a hotly debated topic that has ended up in the courts. Who exactly owns employee LinkedIn contacts made during employment, the individual or the business? A useful blog by business law firm Jonathan Lea tries summarises this debate well. 

Employers are increasingly using social media to help screen applicants so ill-advised tweets, profiles or past photos of dancing drunk on tables in dubious fancy dress costumes can certainly come back to bite job seekers.

And to counter this entrepreneurs are starting up companies helping job hunters to clean up their online presence as well as the pages and pages of online advice available for savvy applicants.

Every business is different and will have the need for policies to be tailored to their industry and workplace culture, we can help you get the right policies in place and support you in dealing with any breach of these policies. So make sure you give us a call, before your company gets caught in the eye of a twitter storm!

Update: Today we’ve been interviewed on BBC Bristol, BBC Points West and Made in Bristol TV on this story