From a commonsense perspective, sometimes distracted employees can precipitate
major health and safety issues.
“A forklift operator was twittering on his
cell instead of concentrating on driving, and
almost caused a serious accident!” says Wayne
Hoover, a Chicago international business
consultant. He insists networking should be
banned in fields such as construction, manufacturing and transportation, especially as
courts are imposing heavy fines when distracted employees cause fatal accidents.
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 23
Legal questions can arise when it comes
to the question of what employers can monitor in terms of what their employees are doing
online. In some cases, common sense prevails: A company could, for example, draft a
policy prohibiting Web surfing or texting
while operating heavy machinery. And rules
could prohibit employees from spending
inordinate amounts of time surfing the Web.
But other cases are more complex. For
example, if an employee is suspected of wrong-
doing, is he or she accessing social networks
through the company server or through his
or her own password-protected account?
What can, and what can’t, a boss review? A
smart approach would be to get legal advice
on any policy your company might draft—to
ensure the policy is not only legally sound,
but clearly presented to employees.
Reno, Nevada–freelancer Sheila Sobell is an
award-winning journalist and author of three
consumer health books.
Setting up your
To promote constructive use of social
networking, business leaders suggest
• Reward employees who use social
networking to enhance effectiveness.
• Acknowledge creative social
surfers by designating them as mentors.
• Thoroughly train employees on
correct use of technology.
• Urge company-wide participation
in developing and enforcing social
What should a good policy say?
According to experts, it should:
• Clarify that you’re monitoring
online activity during work hours, and
reserve the right to do so outside work
as it applies to the job.
• Prohibit the publishing of disparaging comments about employers or co-workers, and the bullying of colleagues.
• Bar employees from identifying
employers or customers and disclosing
• Include a provision that breaching
policy could lead to disciplinary action
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