Use of Social Media in the Workplace
With the growing number of social media-related lawsuits happened in Canada, many employers have to find how to create efficient and effective social media policies for their companies. I am a student in a course called Advanced Written Communication, which is one of my third year courses in Bachelor of Business Administration program. As a business student, I am also interested in this problem.
From the research, I find some social media-related cases and some privacy legislations in Canada. They warn both employers and employees that it is necessary to have enough legal and security knowledge. Employers should create media ...view middle of the document...
Figure 1: Social Media that Top Management Check Regularly1
2.1 A Case of Social Media-Related Lawsuit
This typical case happened in Canada is Lougheed Imports Ltd. (West Coast Mazda) v. United Food and Commercial Workers International Union. It is almost the first case in Canada about the termination of employees because of posting inappropriate comments to social media channels.2
This case happened in Pitt Meadows, British Columbia. Two employees, J.T. and A.P, worked in an automotive detailing and accessory shop at West Coast Mazda. J.T. and A.P had over 400 Facebook friends, and in 2010, they posted many comments on their Facebook, and these comments were described as “offensive, insulting and disrespectful.”3 In addition, they were strong supporters of a union drive, and their postings became more vitriolic after the union was successfully certified. Then a manager saw their postings, and he found that many inappropriate comments were about the supervisors, the business, and the products of West Coast Mazda, so he reported to the company. After conducting an investigation, collecting copies of postings, and meeting with J.T. and A.P, the company fired both employees.
In September 2010, the union filed “unfair labour practice complaints alleging that the Employer had breached the Code”4. The union argued that these two employees were fired because the company wanted to retaliate against the union. However, the British Columbia Labour Relations Board dismissed these complaints. Allison Matacheskie, the Vice-Chair and Registrar, stated that “complainants could not have a serious expectation of privacy when publishing comments on their Facebook websites and therefore the comments are damaging to the Employer’s business” and “the work offence was serious insubordination and conduct damaging to the Employer’s reputation.”5
This case created the first instance to suggest that the company can fire its employees if they make inappropriate comments to damage the company’s finance and reputation on social media channels. However, this does not mean the company can ignore employees’ privacy rights.6
2.2 Privacy and Social Media in Canada
In Canada, the Privacy Act deals with collection, use, storage, and disclosure of personal information. For the private sector, there is also a related legislation called Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA). Besides these two main acts, many provinces, such as Alberta, British Columbia, and Quebec, has their own full private sector privacy legislation.7
Using of social media in the workplace can lead to many privacy problems for both employees and employers. The main reason is that most people think their personal social media channels are private. However, if their privacy settings sets of channels are public, any information or communications posted in these channels can be read by anyone else, such as employers, co-workers,...