Recently I have started working full time from home and as a direct correlation my participation in Facebook has increased. It’s such a great distraction and sadly I’m not updating the Domestic Payroll page but my personal page. I find my business Facebook page so much harder to write. For businesses social networking has become such a mind field of saying the wrong thing and for employers and employees, a new level of complexity has arisen, requiring even more internal policy and procedures.
The situation of whether employers can now control an employee’s action out of work is an issue of serious debate, when venting about your job can go viral and become damaging for business.
For parents with nannies, it’s the added complexity that the nannies workplace is also your home.
Cases that have come up at court regarding unfair dismissals have only created more greyness, as the situation is a new tricky one and seems to vary between individual situations. The cases which have upheld the dismissal have involved bullying of other employees and potentially damaging to the company’s reputation. Whilst another sacking was overturned despite insulting comments about their employer, as they were deemed not to have damaged the business and there was no firm social media policy in place.
Whilst parents with nannies traditionally don’t have employment manuals with company policy on bullying and other behaviour; it’s probably worthwhile adding a couple of lines in your employment contract. Make it clear to your nanny what they can or can’t post on the web without permission, such as photos of the children. Whilst this may seem obvious, the longer your nanny stays with you the more they become a part your family and the nature of confidentiality can become blurred. With the best of intentions your nanny could post photos and especially when platforms like Facebook can become part of your everyday life, sharing photos of children you love may not feel like an issue. And it may not be, but if it is – you should very clear from the beginning about your internet posting boundaries.
Whist as an employer of less than 15 staff, parents don’t have to worry about claims of unfair dismissal, they still have to protect the good working relationship with the carer of their children. So the moral question of the story is – is it reasonable to be angry at someone for breaching your confidentiality if they don’t realise it’s a breach?