In this modern world the use internet & social media in particular is the new trend, almost everyone subscribes to at least one social media platforms, the most commonly used in Zimbabwe are WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram & Twitter.
Most employment contracts or code of conducts are silent on cyber activities, mainly because in the past cyber issues were a nonentity when it comes to working environment and accessibility. The advent of modern technology has seen a change in communication ways and a sharp increase in the use of social media.
This paper aims to discuss the nexus between social media and employment contracts. Workers have a responsibility to protect the image of the organisation which they work for, hence the provision of the clause “putting the name of the organisation into disrepute” in many code of conducts including the National code SI 15 of 2006.
What you post on Social Media platforms reflects on your personality as an individual either by design or default. Social Media platforms have become a very effective modes of marketing and communicating for many organisations and one’s private life is now inextricably linked to their work station. The fact that the whole world can access the information you post on social media mean that there is need as a professional to practice due diligence on what you post on your social media platforms.
When dealing with such cases there is need to examine the legal precepts and the attendant complexities like MOTIVE.
Before you post on Social Media ask yourself the following questions; what is the most likely effect of what I am about to post on other people, on myself and the organisation I work for? Do I have authority to post what I am about to post on social media? If someone is to follow up on my post, am I in a position to answer them and do I have authority to do that? If you find most of your answers on the negative then, we advise you to desist from posting such information.
Here is the reason why, if you post any information on Social Media on behalf of the company and you do not have authority to do that it is a serious breach of the officials secrecy and you can be charged for that. If yourself you post information about you which drags the name of the organisation into disrepute, you can be charged as well. A good example is posting nudity on social media and the next thing everyone relates or associates the nudes with your position in the organisation.
It is also common these days to actually commit cybercrimes, and it is important to note that you can be criminally charged for committing cybercrimes and it can put connotations on corporate brands.
Many contracts of employment call for protection and promotion of the brand which one works for, hence a breach to this can easily be done on social media. There are Cyber bullies who trolls on such information to make huge stories out of something perceived to me probably a mere oversight or joke.
In conclusion, the Constitution give the right and freedom of expression but it is important, to note that our public or private expressions have connotations and impact on self and corporate brands we work for. Therefore, it is advised to always be cautious of what we post on the internet, make sure that you have legal authority to say what you want to say on behalf of the company. Ensure that what you post as an individual does not impact negatively on the corporate brand you work for and most importantly, desist from committing any cybercrimes.
Protect your job and your reputation as a professional as well as your corporate brand by being mindful of what we post on the internet; it leaves trails some of the which can never be deleted.