Social Media at Work – What should a Social Media Policy contain?

15 11 2010

In todays technology-framed times more and more people and businesses are embracing Social Media and using it for a variety of things.  Be it contributing to industry debates, research, marketing, networking or resourcing, the way we are choosing to communicate with each other has shifted once again.  Sites such as Linked In, WordPress,Twitter, Facebook etc have created a permanent space on many people’s web-browers favourites lists and are growing in followers by the day.

In light of this shift, organsations now need to consider the impact of this Social Networking revolution and how it could impact their business.  It’s important that staff are clear on what is appropriate in the use of Social Media at work as distinct from generic internet usage.

With this in mind here are some questions to help guide you towards what your social media policy might need to contain:

1)    What purposes are you happy for your staff to use Social Media sites at work?

2)    Who is able to speak on behalf of your company?

3)    What sort of comments are you happy for your staff to make about your business?

4)    Who owns the content of what your staff write on Social Media sites such as Linked In, Blogs, Facebook etc?

5)    When networking, who’s the relationship between the staff member or your organisation?

6)    What happens if the staff member spells things incorrectly, or mis-quotes/mis-represents something?

7)    How do you know what your staff are saying about your business?

8)    How and when do you monitor Social Media usage amongst your staff?

9)    What happens when a member of staff joins/leaves?

10) If you have a company account on one of these sites, who has the log in details?  Who has access?

11) How and who will handle responses to comments?

12)  What happens if a member of staff says something defamatory, libelous etc?

13)  What sites are your staff allowed to access and what sort of things are they allowed to look at (this will link into your internet usage policy)

14)  How much time should be spent on these sites whilst the individual is at work?

Of course your Social Media policy relates to people’s use of Social Media at work, so whilst you’re concerned with what an individual is saying about your business, keep in mind privacy laws.

If you’d like more information or to discuss this in further detail, please get in touch with Michelle Fischer on 01202 853647.

Alternatively, read what Mashable has to say about the subject here:

For examples of business’s Social Media Policies:


How to Interview – Step 4 – Diversity and Recruitment

19 04 2010

So far we’ve looked at tools that will help you with key recruitment processes (How to Plan to Recruit, How to Shortlist and CV Sift and Preparing for the Interview).  Today I’d like to look at a technical aspect of recruitment, specifically Diversity and some of the legislation that is relevant to Recruitment.

All recruiters, whether they are HR, line managers and recruiters, must be up to date with the many legal aspects that relate to recruitment.   This blog post provides some basic information for you about some of the most pertinent legal requirements to be aware of when recruiting:

Sex Equality Legislation (Sex Discrimination Act 1975 and 1986)

It is against the law to unfairly discriminate, or treat people less favourably, because of their:

  • Gender i.e. male or female.
  • Marriage.
  • Gender reassignment

If a claimant has established the facts to show a possible case, it is up to the employer to prove that there has been no sex discrimination.

Other legislation applicable to this area are the Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2003 and the Employment Equality (Religion or Belief) Regulations 2003.

Gender Reassignment (Added to the Sex Discrimination Act in 1999)

This legislation prohibits discrimination on the grounds of gender reassignment where an individual:

  • Intends to undergo gender reassignment i.e. formally records with a relevant medical practitioner or qualified psychiatrist that he or she has an intention to achieve a new sexual identity.
  • Is undergoing gender reassignment.
  • Has undergone gender reassignment, i.e. has achieved a permanent new sexual identity.

Race Equality Legislation (Race Relations Act 1976 and Race Relations Amendment Act 2000)

The broad objective of the 1976 Race Relations Act was to eliminate discrimination against any racial group and means that an employer’s right to choose whoever they want for a job is restricted if the choice involves treating people unfairly because of their race, nationality or colour. It also provides guidelines and redress to those who feel they have been discriminated against via tribunals and civil courts.

Disability Discrimination (Disability Discrimination Act 1995)

The idea that reasonable adjustments’ should be made is key; there is no general requirement to change arrangements to accommodate anyone with any sort of ability in terms of employment.  Rather, if and when someone with a disability applies for a position, the employer should make “any reasonable adjustments” necessary to allow that person to participate fully in the selection process, and to carry out the job successfully.

Examples of the changes that could be made are:

  • Letting someone help the candidate to complete their application form
  • Providing a sign language interpreter for an interview
  • Providing letters and directions to the interview in large print
  • Allocating some duties to another member of staff
  • Providing voice dictation equipment

Enforcement of Equality & Diversity

Individuals have the right to take any E&D complaint to an employment tribunal.

There is NO limit to compensation an employer can be required to pay.

By using the Competency Based Interview or Structured Interview approach, you can evidence that you are making recruitment decisions objectively, basing your decisions on the skills that candidates have demonstrated during the assessment process.

Age Discrimination (Employment Equality Regulations 2006)

These regulations prohibit discrimination, harassment and victimisation on the grounds of age.

Under the Regulations both young and old are protected. Direct discrimination is where a person is treated less favourably than another person in a comparable situation on the grounds of their age. An example of this would be where a business only considered candidates over a specific age for promotion or who asked for specific number of years experience when this wasn’t relevant to the successful completion of a task/job.

More Information

There is a wealth of online resources available outside of this post, which will help you to maintain and update your knowledge.  Some of these can be found at:

By continually updating and enhancing your knowledge in this field will help protect both yourself and your organisation against some of the areas that may be challenged via Employment Tribunals.

If you’ve any questions, please get in touch on 01202 853647 or email us at  Next week we shall take a look at the different kinds of interview and which one you should use.

The CIPD’s view of the Horizon for Employment Law in 2010

20 01 2010

Here’s details of what can be found at the following link from the CIPD outlining their view of changes to UK Employment Law in 2010.

In February

  • Compensation limits for unfair dismissal will go down (for the first time ever) from £66,200 to £65,300 – from 1 February 2010. (The maximum weekly pay to be taken into account when calculating statutory redundancy payments, and the basic award in unfair dismissal claims, was increased to £350 in October 2009 and is not changed again.)

‘Early’ in 2010

  • Following a consultation process in 2009, proposed regulations on union blacklisting are expected to come into force.

‘Spring’ 2010

  • The Social Security (Medical Evidence) and Statutory Sick Pay (Medical Evidence) Amendment Regulations 2010 will introduce new ‘fit notes’ that will replace sick notes in England, Wales and Scotland.

From April

  • Statutory maternity, paternity and adoption pay – the standard rates of SMP, SPP and SAP will increase to £124.08 a week. (The standard rate of Statutory sick pay(SSP) will remain unchanged at £79.15 a week.)
  • Following consultations in 2009, amendments to the Conduct of Employment Agencies Regulations are expected to come into force.
  • Regulations are expected to come into force which will allow parents of children due on or after 3 April 2011 to transfer part of the mother’s maternity leave to the father.
  • Under the Apprentices, Skills, Children and Learning Act 2009, after a minimum of six month’s service in organisations with 250 or more staff, employees will have the right to request time off for training which they believe will make them productive and effective at work. As in the existing arrangements covering flexible working, employers will have a duty to consider seriously any such request. There will be no requirement for an employee to pay for the training or time off. (The right will be extended to all sizes of organisation from April 2011.)

From October

  • Provisions of the Equality Act expected to come into force.

From November

  • Under the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006, people seeking work in a ‘regulated activity’ must register with the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA), although they may register from 26 July 2010.

Other developments

  • The planned review of the default retirement age (DRA) has been brought forward to 2010. In October 2009 the Government called for evidence on the DRA to feed into the review to be submitted by 1 February 2010.

The CIPD highlight that these changes may well take on a different direction depending upon the outcome of the General Election this year and also that  in some cases, the Scottish and Northern Ireland situation may differ from that in England and Wales.

Employment Law Update – Changes that affect your Talent Management

22 09 2009

If you’re an employer or HR representative responsible for Talent Management in your workplace, here’s a round up of the latest changes in Employment Legislation that you should know about:

The National Minimum Wage Regulations 1999 (Amendment) Regulations 2009

Effective from 1 October

What does it mean?

These regulations implement the annual increases in the National Minimum Wage hourly rates. The main rate will increase from £5.73 to £5.80. The development rate (for workers aged 18 to 21) rises from £4.77 to £4.83, and the youth rate (for 16- and 17-year-olds) from £3.53 to £3.57.


The government estimates that nearly one million workers will be affected by these increases. Because the rises are so modest it thinks the net cost to employers will be negligible, as average earnings are likely to show a larger increase.

Gillie Scoular, partner, Mills & Reeve

Work and families (Increase of Maximum Amount) Order 2009

Effective from 1 October

What does it mean?

The maximum weekly amount for calculating unfair dismissal and redundancy payments increases from £350 to £380. The limit is normally adjusted each February in line with the RPI and this has always led to a rise. The current RPI would, however, most likely have led to the limit remaining the same or falling to £340.


The limit of £380 will remain in place until February 2011. This increased level of termination liability will have an adverse financial effect on employers who are struggling more than ever in the current economic climate.

Kate Holbrook, associate, Dechert

Data Protection (Notification and Notification Fees) (Amendment) Regulations 2009

Effective from 1 October

What does it mean?

Under a new two-tier structure public authorities and private organisations that have been in existence for more than one month, have annual turnover of at least £25.9m and have 250 or more employees (Tier 2 organisations) will be subject to a £500 registration fee. The previous flat fee of £35 will still apply to all other, Tier 1 organisations. Charities and small occupational schemes will always fall into Tier 1 regardless of size and turnover.


The aim is to ensure the fee structure is fairer, reflecting the resources invested by the ICO in regulating larger organisations. It will result in a significant increase in fees for these larger organisations, with a particular impact on group companies where there is often more than one data controller within the group.

Catriona Aldridge, solicitor, Dundas & Wilson

Tips: National Minimum Wage Regulations 1999 (Amendment) Regulations 2009 prevents tips being included in minimum wages

Effective from 1 October

What does it mean?

This will change the way that tips, service charges and tronc payments are treated for NMW purposes. Troncs operate where tips are centrally pooled and then distributed by an employee appointed as troncmaster.


Employers will not be permitted to take into account any gratuity payments paid to workers when assessing whether the NMW is being paid, irrespective of whether they are paid directly to the workers, paid by the employer through its payroll or paid through a troncmaster. Employers should therefore ensure that their basic wages rates comply with the NMW without any service charges or gratuities being taken into account.

James Williams, partner, Archon

Police Act 1997 (Criminal Records) (NO 2) Regulations 2009,

Effective from 12 October

What does it mean?

The regulations make changes to the process of issuing certificates by the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) and introduce a new Vetting and Barring Scheme (VBS). The latter scheme was established under the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006 (see below). The VBS will become the first centralised system for those working with children and vulnerable people.


Employers and those working in the voluntary sector therefore will have to carefully review and identify who carries out tasks that could be covered by the VBS. They must ensure they carry out enhanced checks now and that any new employees, those moving jobs and volunteers will be ISA registered.

Pam Loch, founder, Loch Associates

Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006

Effective from 12 October

What does it mean?

The Act introduces a centralised vetting system for people working with children and vulnerable adults. The new Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) will be operational from 12 October 2009. Employees and volunteers will need to apply to register with the ISA and will be assessed using data gathered by the Criminal Records Bureau. Only ISA-registered persons can undertake regulated activity, involving frequent or intensive contact with children or vulnerable adults. Employers who employ an unregistered person could be imprisoned or fined up to £5,000. Registration and checking will become mandatory in November 2010.


Employers need to review their recruitment procedures to ensure that the necessary checks are carried out and to prepare for vetting all their existing staff. In addition, employers will need to put in place policies governing the information which will be provided to the ISA. The biggest potential problem with the ISA is likely to be delay. In 2004 a backlog of CRB applications caused chaos in the education and childcare sectors. The introduction of the ISA could see this repeated on a larger scale.

Mary Clarke, employment partner, DLA Piper

If you’re worried about how these changes might affect your business, call us for a free consultation today on 01202 853647 or visit


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