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Can management of staff in a childcare setting regulate or determine the personal use of Facebook outside of work, if staff posts are compromising the professional perception of the setting due to the employee's recurrent irresponsible behaviour in their own time?

This is in the UK. However, I would be interested in answers/comments for other countries.

  • Sorry, but this is way too vague: "the employee's [..] behaviour in their own time". It's also off topic (legal issue). – user8036 Nov 11 '14 at 14:14
  • @JanDoggen Their behaviour outside the workplace, so posting things on Facebook describing or showing things about themselves that would affect the credibility of the workplace. – camden_kid Nov 11 '14 at 14:18
  • This question might be well worth reading as it is very similar. – enderland Nov 11 '14 at 15:03
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In a word, yes.

Most UK companies will have a clause in their contract with you which says something about "bringing the company into disrepute". That is, if you go around saying "my boss is an idiot and our products are rubbish" they are entitled to start disciplinary proceedings against you.

Many companies now have a "Social Media Policy" - that will explain what they do and don't want you doing on social media. For example, you may not be allowed to call yourself "Bob_myworkplace" or make out that you represent the company in an official capacity.

They'll also say that you can't share confidential information in public.

Now - there is a limit to this. If you have a totally private Facebook account and post "crap day I work, I hate my boss Fred" - then they're unlikely to find out.

If you say the same thing in public, you can expect a reprimand.

Similarly, if you see someone ranting about your employer - don't comment. That's not your job.

The flip side is - what happens if you say "I'm gay" on Facebook. Can they fire you for that? No. But if you say "I want to hit all the kids in the daycare"... well, what do you think?

I would ask your boss for a copy of the firm's social media guidelines / policy. It may also be worth asking for training so that people don't inadvertently fall foul of the rules.

As ever, if you're currently facing disciplinary proceedings, it's worth talking to your Union Rep - or a specialised employment lawyer.

  • Thanks. Any thoughts on a situation where some photos in a private Facebook account show the person in an unfavourable light and clients of the workplace can see these? – camden_kid Nov 11 '14 at 13:55
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    @camden_kid It's usually not a big deal if the account is private and the picture is not connected with the company in any way, but in the case of uncertainty (perhaps too dark) then you should ask to have the picture taken down just to be sure. – Jonast92 Nov 11 '14 at 15:10
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It's best to treat your Facebook account, and the Internet generally, as completely public. Don't post anything there that you think might seriously jeopardize your job, or your ability to get a job. Or someone else's job. No drunken selfies, however entertaining they may be. Employers DO perform websearches these days, and with face-matching getting better even an image which gets propagated anonymously may get linked back to you. And someone else may recognize you and complain.

In some jobs that doesn't matter as much. In childcare, where trust is the primary product you're selling, paranoia is not enough.

"Remember, when you connect to a server, you are connecting to every client that server has ever connected to. Practice safe hex."

And never assume that a service you don't own is secure. If you aren't willing to see it published, don't put it on the net without industrial-strength encryption.

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