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Managing your social media: Employee LinkedIn accounts

In the last day or so a furore has erupted following the now much publicised incident between a 27 year-old female Barrister, Charlotte Proudman, and Alexander Carter-Silk, a 57-year old Senior Partner at City firm Brown Rudnick,.

For those that have somehow avoided this now quite viral story, Miss Proudman sought to connect with Mr Carter-Silk via the ubiquitous business networking site ‘Linkedin’. Mr Carter-Silk upon accepting this request to connect, passed comment on Miss Proudman’s profile picture stating that it was ‘stunning’ and that she would ‘win the prize for the best Linkedin picture I have seen’.

Miss Proudman subsequently posted the exchange and her response on Twitter, and the matter has now escalated into a very public debate over the appropriateness of the comments made by Mr Carter-Silk, as well as the response of Miss Proudman in publicising the exchange, with the latter comparing the former’s use of Linkedin to the dating application ‘Tinder’.

While we do not seek to comment here as to the rights or wrongs of the matter, clearly this story, which is still escalating as we write this, raises some very clear concerns for employers and employees in relation to the use of professional social media sites such as Linkedin.

In particular this spat demonstrates that a robust social media policy should be implemented and observed not only for the benefit of general staff, but also for the most senior individuals, the words and actions of which are likely to be taken as the position of the entities they serve.

Arguably then Mr Carter-Silk and others of a similar high profile, in whatever the business may be, should be possessed of a reasonable amount of social media nous. Strict adherence to a solid social media policy that prohibits any conduct that could even be considered to approach being inappropriate should now be the norm from a legal compliance perspective.

This situation could of course have arisen in virtually any other business sector and so the purpose of such policies now being standard is to enable a company to take subsequent internal action against errant employees for bringing the company into disrepute. While Mr Carter-Silk is a partner at his firm, the public relations storm that this situation has caused is still considerable.

Conclusion

We often write of the pitfalls of social media, though believe that given its increasing prevalence in the commercial sphere that a robust policy, potentially complemented by specific training for senior staff, is the price that businesses need to consider paying in order to ensure one of their number does not end up in the national spotlight for all the wrong reasons.

As always, if I can provide you with any further assistance in relation to social media or any other employment law matter please do not hesitate to contact me for a free consultation on 0113 350 4030 orsamira.cakali@scesolicitors.co.uk.


Please note that the information in this blog is to provide information of general interest in a summary manner and should not be construed as individual legal advice. Readers should consult with SCE Solicitors or other professional counsel before acting on the information contained here.

Samira Cakali

Samira Cakali is a pragmatic and approachable solicitor advocate with extensive contentious and non-contentious experience in the fields of employment law as well as civil litigation, within a range of commercial businesses from SME’s to multinationals as well as senior executives.

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