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Can employers dictate employees LinkedIn profiles?

Employment Law

LinkedIn has over 930 million members from more than 200 countries worldwide. It’s a social media platform that allows professionals to connect, share and learn from others online and focuses on professional networking and career development.

Each user has a profile compiled of various bits of information about themselves. This includes their past experience, education, qualifications, a bio, and a profile picture.

So, can an employer control any parts of their employees’ profile?

Legally, employers cannot control any aspect of an employees’ social media presence on any platform. In many aspects of work, social media is considered something personal and not at all related to the workplace. However some job roles, such as those who work in marketing or business networking, their social media presence could be included in their employment contract and restrict the way they are able to appear online.

On the other hand, it’s important to realise that an employee liking or sharing a social media post, could reflect either positively or negatively on their employer depending on its content. On LinkedIn, this is particularly relevant as it increased the visibility of the employer and thus can help to build or tear down a businesses reputation.

As an employer, what can I do?

Employers could opt to include a clause within their employment contracts to impose clear duties and rules about social media platforms like LinkedIn on employees. This could be to promote the business, or it could be to prevent employees from sharing something detrimental to the company.

If employers don’t want to go as far as implementing a contract clause, then gentle encouragement to staff to use social media in a way that benefits the business is another option.

5 tips for encouraging employees to use LinkedIn

  1. Show them what the benefits of using it are for them and the business
  2. Offer them training on LinkedIn so they feel confident to use it
  3. Use the LinkedIn Employee Notification feature on company page posts
  4. Provide them with help with content ideas
  5. Get them involved in the company LinkedIn strategy

As an employer, what can I NOT do?

  • Ask employees to connect with anyone and everyone – who they connect with is their own personal choice.
  • Ask employees to endorse skills or leave recommendations for colleagues for skills they have not witnessed or for people they have not worked with enough.
  • Ask employees to speak negatively about other businesses, individuals or anything else.

It’s important to remember that unless there is a contractual obligation, it is not the job of an employee to boost the company’s visibility on social media.

How to help employees understand their LinkedIn role

In order to ensure that employees understand their responsibilities regarding social media, whether this is during or outside working hours, employers should implement a Social Media Policy and keep this up to date. At it’s core, this policy should set out the ‘do’s and don’ts’ of using social media as an employee of the company. It should also over what would happen in the event of a breach and employers need to be able to protect their confidential information, and their reputation.

If you have any questions or require advice regarding any aspect of employment law, please contact our Employment Law Team today.

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