Olswang's highly regarded Employment and Reputation Management teams have hosted over 50 delegates for a seminar which addressed the very topical issue of social media in the workplace. As a leading Technology, Media and Telecommunications (TMT) law firm, Olswang is ideally placed to offer advice in this fast-moving area.
The seminar was led by Melanie Lane and Catherine Taylor (Employment), Ashley Hurst (Reputation Management) and Seán Jones QC of 11KBW, and moderated by Clive Gringras (Head of Internet & E-Commerce). They discussed social media related disciplinary issues and the importance of having a clear policy, employee competition and the implications of LinkedIn connections acquired directly through a previous role, the opportunities and challenges of social media for employers and how to deal with unlawful posts and reputational threats.
Underlying the seminar was the inescapable message that having a well thought through and properly communicated social media policy is vital. Melanie Lane commented, "With the distinction between an employee's professional and private life ever blurring, it is vital for organisations to have an up to date social media policy which is consistent with a wider framework of guidelines, including those covering employee competition and data security and retention. Social media policies should also be supported with rigorous practical training at all levels".
Catherine Taylor challenged the audience to consider who owns LinkedIn and Twitter connections, and to put in place measures surrounding employee competition. "The key here is detail, from commencement to termination of employment. You must formulate clear contractual provisions to protect post termination the goodwill that is created by the use of social media and consider using the protection under the Database Rights legislation to back this up. At the same time, you also need to manage your business' expectations; it simply isn't feasible to stop an ex-employee from having a social media profile".
Following the warning from Seán Jones QC that "the internet has won: whatever your policy, once a comment hits the web you can't stop it", Ashley Hurst went on to highlight the value of having clear lines of reporting and an escalation route for responding to any crises, emphasising how important it is to be able to respond within the shortest possible time frame. Ashley noted a particular instance where a threat was Tweeted at 3:30pm and the consequent injunction obtained in the same afternoon and then served through Twitter later that evening. "Acting this quickly", said Ashley, "is essential to managing reputational risks arising from social media".
Olswang's Employment team spans across the firm's international network, following the most recent appointment of a full-service team in Berlin.
To learn more, please visit the Employment team's page on www.olswang.com.
For more information or to set up an interview please contact:
Media & Communications Manager
020 7067 3009
Media & Communications Officer
020 7067 3069
Notes to editors
Olswang LLP is one of Europe's leading law firms in the areas of technology, media, telecommunications and real estate. The firm comprises of nearly 700 people including 100 partners, across seven European offices. Olswang is part of a 'best friends' network of leading independent law firms throughout the world.
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