Houston Social Media Policy Attorneys

Social Media Policies & Employee Training

Without a clear social media policy, a business runs the risk of harming its brand and running afoul of regulatory guidelines which limit corporate speech or require certain disclosures. Employees and officers of the company need to understand where their responsibilities begin and end, and when even personal social media activity can violate regulatory restrictions and cause reputational damage.

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Social Media Policy for Employers in Texas

Even if your brand is not active on social media, your employees are! Not paying attention to social media can cost your business money and lead to government investigations.

Whether you are just establishing or acquiring a new business, or you have been in operation for decades, adopt a social media policy for both personal and professional employee posts.

An effective social media policy will:

  • Educate employees about social media;
  • Provide reminders on the blurring of personal and professional image;
  • Teach employees to present views in a professional manner;
  • Teach respect for professional boundaries;
  • Reduce potential legal risks and comply with relevant laws and regulations;
  • Train employees on confidentiality, including confidential and proprietary information;
  • Prevent sensitive information from being shared publicly;
  • Clarify whose “voice” is being used; and
  • Help employees understand when they represent the business online.

The written policy needs to confirm with SEC, FTC, FDA, NLRA, and HIPAA guidelines, including avoiding pitfalls with soliciting and sharing online reviews. Our attorneys have extensive knowledge of the regulatory guidelines that extend to social media and can help you address the risks through a comprehensive social media policy.

Social Media Policy Dos and Don’ts

  • Do have a written social media policy.
  • Don’t take adverse employment action without consulting your compliance officer or an attorney – you could inadvertently infringe on employee rights as defined by the National Labor Relations Act.
  • Don’t enforce policies inconsistently – you could expose yourself to claims of discrimination, wrongful termination, or harassment leading to an investigation by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC).
  • Don’t assume employees are the only ones who can violate the rules – managers and even family members can share and expose confidential information. Address confidentiality and any nondisclosure agreements in place in your written policy and training.

Review & Update Your Social Media Usage Policy

Regulations that govern the use of social media continue to evolve. As such, social media policy should be reviewed and updated at least annually to reflect changes in the business, regulations, technology, and social media best practices.

Additionally, significant changes in the social media landscape, the company's use of social media, or a negative incident (either with your social media presence or one reported in the news) should trigger a review and update of the policy.

Our social media attorneys can review your existing policy and advise you on unaddressed risks or even alert you to relaxed regulations that may allow your business to take greater advantage of social media tools.

Employee Training on Social Media

As a part of the onboarding process, new employees should be trained on social media best practices, including what to avoid for legal, compliance, and branding reasons. In addition, social media compliance should be an integral part of your business’ ongoing compliance training program.

Employees should receive social media training on:

  • The company’s social media policy, ethical behavior, and the potential risks and consequences associated with their use of social media in the workplace;
  • Purpose and goals of a social media policy for employees in Texas;
  • Best practices for social media use, such as privacy settings, avoiding sharing confidential information, and maintaining professional conduct;
  • Guidelines for representing the company on social media, such as avoiding posting discriminatory or offensive content and not speaking on behalf of the company without authorization;
  • Laws and regulations that restrict or guide social media communications within your industry;
  • Consequences for non-compliance with social media policies and procedures; and
  • Procedures for reporting violations of social media policies;

Lack of training could not only result in negative press for your company; it can also result in a human resources and compliance nightmare, especially if government regulations were violated. Countless manhours can be spent to address a situation which could have potentially been avoided with sufficient and adequate training.

Social Media Legal Services for Employers

By assisting companies with developing comprehensive social media plans, the Houston lawyers at Hendershot Cowart P.C. help clients maximize the potential benefits of using social platforms, while intelligently managing risks, liability, and potential pitfalls.

Learn more about social media policy and employee training by speaking with a Houston social media attorney. Call (713) 783-3110 or contact our team online.

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