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Website URL : http://www.acas.org.uk/index.aspx?articleid=3433

Factfile

  • Employers checking on job applicants on social networking sites are leaving themselves open to charges of discrimination because by vetting them online, employers are likely to know a range of information including sexual orientation, ethnicity, religion, marital status, age and political views, making it easier for rejected candidates to claim they have been discriminated against.
  • Companies could set up forums, such as open newsletters, within their firm so employees have an alternative to social networking sites.
  • As part of its guide, Acas is offering factsheets with practical tips for employers on how to handle the impact of the internet and social media on managing performance, recruitment, discipline and grievances, bullying, defamation, data protection and privacy, and on how to develop an internet and social media policy.
  • Bosses and staff may also have to re-think how performance at work is measured. Is it by the number of hours worked, or by the volume and difficulty of jobs successfully completed? It has been suggested that bosses will increasingly focus on tasks and end-products rather than managing employees' time too closely.
  • In a survey by My Job Group cited in the Institute for Employment Studies report, more than half of employees (58%) said they would change their social media profiles if they knew their employer would see it, with more than one in ten (11%) saying they would change almost everything they posted.
  • In the survey, more than seven out of ten of employees said they did not know whether their employer had a social media policy.
  • Almost half of employees (43%) surveyed said that it was unfair that someone should be disciplined for criticising their workplace or colleagues on a social networking site.
  • A third of employees surveyed admitted they had talked negatively on social networking sites about their workplace, boss, owner of the company, line manager or colleagues 

Notes for editors

  1. See main Press Release on the impact of the internet and social media in the workplace. The document is also attached on the email from Acas. 

For media enquiries only please contact David Webb, Media and Public Relations Manager (jobshare), Acas National, on 0117 906 5249 and 07920 541 322 or dwebb@acas.org.uk.

Between September 2 and 19 please contact Cate McLaurin or Michelle Bayley, Heads of Communication, Acas National, on 0207 210 3642 or headofcomms@acas.org.uk.