As most business owners know, the actions and inactions of an employee can greatly impact your company's image. When the action is a positive experience, it reflects well on the company. The exact opposite happens when an employee acts in a way that is considered unacceptable. Unfortunately, if that poor conduct occurs online, the employer may be limited in the actions they can take. Learn more about the investigation of an employee's social media account, including how to avoid violations under the Stored Communications Act.
Unsavory Social Media Behavior
If your company has an image to protect – be it honesty, integrity, compassion, or top-notch customer service – then you may already have a social media policy in place. Unfortunately, some employees may still break the rules, even with the rules in place. If that happens, you may need evidence from an investigation before you can bring action against the offending employee (i.e. termination, lawsuit, etc.). Without it, you may be at risk for litigation. Yet conducting it can also place your company at risk, especially if you violate the SCA.
The Stored Communications Act
Enacted in 1986, the Stored Communications Act protects the private electronic communications of every American. It states that no one can intentionally access the electronic communications of another person without their consent. Not even law enforcement can access certain information without a search warrant. Employers may be at an even further disadvantage and could even be at risk of criminal charges if they violate the Act.
What Can You Access, and How?
One of the easiest ways to monitor an employee's social media account is to request that they add you or your company as a contact. Not only does this give you a first-hand account of what they are posting, but it also gives you a way to take screenshots of offending posts. Another strategy is to require that employees provide you with copies of offending posts. You cannot request access to their account, however, and it is advised that you avoid requesting information that may be unrelated to the offending comment.
Obtain Assistance with Your Company's Needs
Stock, Carlson, Oldfield & McGrath, LLC understands just how important it is to protect your company. Whether you need assistance with the development of a social media policy, an investigation of an employee, or protection in the face of litigation, we are here for you. Schedule your personalized consultation with our DuPage County business law attorneys to learn more. Call 630-665-2500 today.