By author: Michael DeMattee
How might use of personal social media in the workplace cause problems that may result in harm to others? In (Vega, 2016) article, she introduces different perspectives on whether or not workers should be monitored on their use of social media at the workplace and off duty. I believe the concept can have both favorable and unfavorable consequences. From a legal point of view, I say there is a slippery slope employers have to consider regarding privacy issues (Collins, 2012, p. 85). One of the protections employees has is the right to privacy. The other issues are how companies are using technology to monitor their employees use of company computers. For example, many employers use technology to monitor productivity and to protect their network systems by use of software that captures keyboard strokes. As an employee, I would be fearful of how employers are using the data they gather and how they intend to use it. With that being said, employers have to use a bit of caution when it comes to employees and their personal social media use.
From an employer perspective, I do believe employers have the right to protect their assets and the safety of other employees. For instance, as a leader, or manager, you never want to see another employee shame or bullying another employee through the use of social media. This causes a hostile work environment and could lead to other harmful effects such as, suicide, loss of productively, legal ramifications, and psychological damage.
What ethical values are needed when making choices to post photos or blogs that place the workplace in a bad light? Again, there is a legal liability a company has to consider. For instance, there is an ongoing trend where employers are being terminating for what their staff has posted on their personal social media page or blogs such as; photos, videos, and written post. As Collins (2012) has suggested, “That information obtained that is not related to the job performance can create a bias (Collins, 2012, p. 97)” or a potential for a discriminatory case as suggested by (Vega, 2016, p. 99). On the other hand, an employer is also legally and ethically responsible for reporting potential harm an employee can cause as suggested in the article (Vega, 2016, p. 98). For example, if an employee posted a post laced with threat to cause harm to another human and the employer fails to report it, now the employer can be responsible for potential damages.
In order for employers to levitate any misunderstandings and confusions it is important to establish a clear and concise code of conduct guideline. In discussing code of conduct it is described as, “legal expectations and ethical risks unique to an organization” (Collins, 2012, p. 120).
- Collins, D. (2012). Business Ethics: How to Design and Manage Ethical Organizations. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
- Tavani, H. T. (2007). Philosophical theories of privacy: Implications for an adequate online privacy program. JSTOR, 38(1), 1-22. Abstract retrieved from JSTOR.
- Thompson, II, R. M. (2014). The fourth amendment third-party doctrine (7-5700). Washington, DC: Government Printing Office.
- Vega, G. (2016). Monitoring of employee social media. In Monitoring of employee social media (pp. 91-101). Retrieved from https://brandman.blackboard.com/bbcswebdav/pid-8985715-dt-content-rid-16636373_2/courses/FL-201725-OLCU-350-FL1/Is%20Employer%20Monitoring%20oif%20Employee%20Social%20Media%20Justified_Vega%282016%29.pdf