Small Businesses And Social Media:
How To Help Protect Your Business
If you’re the owner of a small business with employees, you must know the power and extensive reach of social media in today’s world. Some of these social media sites have more than 500 million users. The odds are almost all your employees use one form of social media.
There are over 60 very popular social networking sites from chatting to serious business-to-business sites such as “Linked-In” where business people are ‘linked’ with other business people. These people are called ‘connections’ and one person could have thousands of ‘connections’.
Have you ever thought about how Social Media could be used to harm your business? Most businesses depend upon a well planned website and good reviews to help direct traffic to their company. But what if one of your employees is fired, quits and uses social media with a remark that’s derogatory or unfavorable? What if an employee inadvertently shares something on social media that could harm your business?
Business owners walk a fine line if they decide to cross over into the personal lives of employees. Colorado law limits an employer’s to access to an employee’s social media accounts and prohibits the employer asking for the employee’s user names and/or passwords to access their social media accounts. Colorado’s House Bill 13-1046 “Concerning Employer Access to Personal Information Through Electronic Communication Devices, and, In Connection Therewith, Making an Appropriation” is one that employers should read. This can be accessed at the following website. (http://www.leg.state.co.us/clics/clics2013a/csl.nsf/fsbillcont3/B1355B3A769E5C4A87257A8E0073C3BA?Open&file=1046_enr.pdf)
Colorado legislature is continually amending statutes and instituting laws regarding the very fast developing social media market.
There are exceptions for businesses such as: the employer may access information about employees (or applicants) that is publicly available online. To review these laws, contact the Department of Labor and Employment for more information on “Social Media and the Workplace Law Rules”
A business can help protect itself against any adverse social media comments or statements without breaking laws that protect employees by enacting a company policy. A company can require the employee to not post any information on social media websites that may harm the business and/or disclose any confidential information pertaining to the company. The policy can also ask employees to abstain from posting any information or statement about a customer, co-worker or competitor that could be construed as hostile, harassing or libelous.
Our experienced business attorneys can review and help businesses with policy that stays within the letter of the law.
Your online business reputation is important. You have legal remedies to avoid or get rid of bad business reviews by an angry employee.
To schedule a consultation to protect your business on social media, contact our business lawyers at 303-618-2122.