business and social media

Many businesses now routinely review the social media activities of both their current as well as of all their prospective employees before making any employment offers. An article in the Wall Street Journal from 2014 claimed that, at the time, almost half of the employers that they surveyed had found something on social media “that made them deep-six a candidate—such as posting inappropriate photos or information, or bad-mouthing a former boss.” (see link to a pdf copy of that article below)

Needless to say, monitoring employee social media is quite controversial, with different people providing very different perspectives on this issue.

Thus, Nancy Flynn of the ePolicy Institute has argued:

“Management has a right and responsibility to monitor how employees are using social media at all times. If companies don’t pay attention, they may end up facing any number of serious problems.
It’s all too easy for disgruntled or tone-deaf employees to go onto social media and criticize customers, harass subordinates and otherwise misbehave. Sometimes that can bring workplace tensions and complaints, sometimes it can damage a company’s reputation in the marketplace, and sometimes it can lead all the way to lawsuits or regulatory action.”

On the other hand, Lewis Maltby, of the International Mediation Institute responded to Flynn’s arguments as follows:

“Yes, employers have a legal right to monitor employees’ conduct on their work computers. But the only time employers have a legal duty to monitor employee communications is when the employer has reason to believe that the employee is engaged in illegal conduct.

The fact is, the vast majority of what employees do on the Internet has nothing to do with work, takes place during their private lives and is done on their personal computers. Once again, employers should get involved with employees’ private lives only when there is reason to be concerned.”

In this context, your assignment is write a short essay (minimum 500 words) evaluating the arguments for and against the monitoring of employee social media activities outside the workplace.

Overall, I agree with Lewis Maltby.

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