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BizReport : Internet : May 21, 2010

Employees unaware boss scrutinizing socnet profiles

A large number of U.K. employees are unaware that their superiors are viewing their social media profiles, which would explain why so many use the environment to criticize their boss and workplace.

by Helen Leggatt

According to research carried out by, of 1,000 British employees surveyed over two-thirds (70%) were unaware of any in-house social media use policies. Just 16% knew that their employers had policies in place to police its use.

That's probably why 40% felt it was harmless to criticize their workplace on a social networking or micro-blogging website and one in four felt safe bemoaning their boss.

"Employers and HR departments need to be upfront and honest with their employees about their policies," said Fergal Dowling, an employment law specialist at Irwin Mitchell Solicitors, "Many firms may ban social media altogether but in some industries that is simply not viable, and some creative industries rely on social media."

Not surprisingly, 60% said that had they known their employers were privy to what was being written on their social networks they would change what was written.

Over half (53%) believe that disciplinary action is in order if an employee is found to be dissing their workplace via social media.

"As an employee, if you were to openly criticize or defame your workplace in a newspaper or within a printed flyer, you'd expect legal consequences - they should expect the same of online outbursts," said Lee Fayer, Managing Director of

Tags: employees, employers, human resources, social media policies, social network, workplace

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