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You’ve Done Harassment Training for Your Employees, Should Social Media Training Be Next?

on Friday, 2 February 2018 in Health Law Alert: Erin E. Busch, Editor

Hopefully by now, most employers either have conducted, or have scheduled, workplace harassment training to discuss (and prevent) harassment issues in the workplace. The impetus to refresh this training was outlined in our December newsletter article, which you can access here.

The scary thing about harassment issues is that they sometimes occur behind the scenes without HR or management knowing about them. This is why harassment training that covers intervention and reporting becomes so important.

But what about other issues that your organization may or may not be aware of? For instance, are you confident that your employees aren’t discussing protected health information on social media? Do you know whether your employees discuss the workplace on social media? Are you confident that your managers know how to react in such instances? If you answered “no” to any of these questions, workplace social media training should be the next big training item on your agenda.

On the management side, managers should be aware of the limitations on their ability to respond to unflattering (or downright damaging) social media posts. Did the post constitute protected free speech under the First Amendment (and/or is the First Amendment even relevant)? Was the post “protected concerted activity?” Management should be aware of these and other landmines to minimize legal liability.

For employees, training on the effect of their social media posts, and recognizing where seemingly innocent posts may implicate HIPAA, is essential. By better educating your workforce, the less likely you will feel that “OMG” social media panic when someone says, “Did you see what Jane posted?”

Kelli P. Lieurance

1700 Farnam Street | Suite 1500 | Omaha, NE 68102 | 402.344.0500

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