I've been talking about this for years, but it seems that the world is starting to take notice. Social media, used well, can make and advance careers, but used badly may result in harm to not only the employee, but the employer too.

Sadly, it takes a lesson from reality TV to prove the point. News that Nadia Essex (nope, not a clue) has been suspended from hosting duties of E4 show Celebs Go Dating (nor this) following allegations of trolling through multiple fake accounts set up by her to send abusive messages to her former co-host.

The 'dating expert' hasn't been axed as the headlines suggest, but has been suspended whilst an investigation is carried out by the show's producers.

When to suspend?

Employers should use the right to suspend employees cautiously and should only implement a suspension for as long as is reasonably necessary to undertake a fair investigation. Although considered a neutral act, suspension can often lead to indirect problems for the employee involved should the allegations go unproven and they return to work. Balancing the requirement to undertake a fair investigation and the implicit duty of care to the suspended employee can sometimes be problematic.

Suspension is a valuable and important tool for employers, but must be used wisely. Proper investigations are essential to proving a fair dismissal, but must be balanced with expeditiousness.

Social media policy

And where social media is concerned, employers must be wise to wider implications of improper use by employees, even outside of the workplace. Training and well considered policies will guide employees as to what is right and wrong and will go some way to keeping your organisation message positive and away from the media spotlight.

To discuss disciplinary, social media and other employment matters, contact Kevin at kevin.poulter@freeths.co.uk

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