Proudly presents Social Media in the Workplace Emerging and Evolving Legal Issues

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1 Proudly presents Social Media in the Workplace Lanny Robinson Partner Alexander Holburn Beaudin + Lang LLP West Georgia Street Vancouver, BC V7Y 1B8 Tel: (604) Fax: (604)

2 Social Media is commonly thought to refer to the use of digital information to exchange user generated information and communications. The websites most commonly considered as social media: include Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Newer websites are being created on an ongoing basis, and many of them are steadily gaining in popularity (such as Pinterest, Tumblr and Instagram). Regarding the Big 3 : Facebook has more than 1 billion users worldwide. This group includes more than 19 million Canadians; Twitter has more than a half-billion global users; LinkedIn has more than 200 million members, more than 7 million of whom are Canadian

3 While the rise of social media has been positive on many levels, the new technology has also given rise to a host of legal and ethical issues with which we, as a society, are trying to contend. In the employment context, the immediate exchange of and access to information is often seen as a means to increase worker productivity. However, potential gains in productivity need to be measured against the loss of time spent by employees updating profiles or poking a virtual friend.

4 Emerging and Evolving Issues in the Employment Context Negligent misstatement claims Public airing of grievances Defamation claims Discrimination complaints Background checks on potential hires

5 Negligent misstatement claims The perils of the blog : Professional service firms need to ensure that information and opinions expressed by employees are not construed as advice Use disclaimers as part of every post. For example: All content provided herein is for informational purposes only. The views expressed herein are not necessarily the views of [Employer] and [Employer] makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site.

6 Act 1 Scene 1 Public Airing of Grievances Letting off steam the way things were

7 Act 1 Scene 2 Public Airing of Grievances Letting off steam in the Digital Age Can you spot the differences?

8 Public Airing of Grievances Potential copyright issue associated with the use of a photograph from the company s secure intranet; Disparaging management is tantamount to disparaging the employer itself; The employer owes a duty to ensure that it maintains a workplace that adheres to the principles of civility decency and respect and by not reacting to the publication, the employer may be in breach of its duty to the supervisor.

9 Defamation Claims Ease of publication; Breadth of publication; Assumed anonymity; Vicarious liability of employer.

10 Background Checks References Available on Request (or at the click of a mouse) Act 2

11 Background Checks Human rights issues related to family status, criminal record, and religion. Privacy issues related to the collection of Information without notification or consent of the candidate. No steps taken to confirm the candidate s identity by asking her to confirm the information.

12 Questions? Lanny Robinson Partner Alexander Holburn Beaudin + Lang LLP West Georgia Street Vancouver, BC V7Y 1B8 Tel: (604) Fax: (604)

13 Enjoy the rest of the 2013 RIMS Canada Conference!

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