Majority of Oz firms banning staff from accessing Facebook, Twitter at work

Last Updated: Sat, Dec 15, 2012 09:40 hrs

A majority of workplaces across Australia are now banning staff from accessing social media sites at work, and simultaneously trying to prevent them commenting on their employer after hours.

Across Australia, 91 business have sought to formally ban their staff from accessing Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites, as part of a workplace agreement.

Fair Work Australia agreement searches showed that the first enterprise deals featuring such bans began appearing in 2010, and increased five-fold in 2011, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.

According to the paper, the agreements potentially expose employees to disciplinary action if, during working time, they use social media, defined in most agreements as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Myspace and 'all other internet sites whose function provides for social networking'.

Kate Jenkins, a partner at Herbert Smith Freehills specialising in employment law, said there was a rising number of employers having to tackle workers making 'abusive comments about co-workers, threats, sexual remarks, racist remarks, often about managers' on social media sites.

The paper quoted her, as saying that many people did not understand that their personal use of social media could cost them their job.

'"The idea of someone having a grievance and raising it via social media to create a campaign to potentially seriously damage a [firm's] reputation, that is really in conflict with an employee's obligation to their employer," Jenkins added. (ANI)

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