In today’s political climate, tensions can run high even among friends and families. As such, employers are wise to revisit their conduct policies and make a point of having employees refresh their knowledge of workplace and social media expectations. Of course, it’s not possible or legal for an employer to fully control what their employees say on social media because the platform has free speech protections. That means employers cannot legally prevent employees from discussing their jobs or complaining about colleagues, company decisions, and policies on social media. However, employers can clarify that hate speech, bullying, retaliation, and discriminatory conduct—even on social media platforms—may be cause for disciplinary actions and/or termination. “If a post threatens or poses a risk to patients, I would report it to the authorities—either law enforcement or in the case of a clinician, to the professional licensing board,” says Alan Ayers, MBA, MAcc, president of Experity Networks and Practice Management Editor of JUCM.
The business perspective: Employers can be liable for the defamation of others by their employees, says Ayers, not to mention that failing to address an employee’s hateful or bullying remarks can also lead to a hostile work environment. The consequences in these situations could range from something as common as high staff turnover to something as costly as lawsuits. Read more about hostile work environments from the JUCM archive: Dealing With And Preventing A Hostile Work Environment In Urgent Care. Read more about social media policies for urgent care operators from the JUCM archive: Employee Confidentiality Cannot Extend To Employment Terms—Including On Social Media.