At the Agency, we understand that social media can be a fun and rewarding way to share your life and opinions with family, friends and co-workers around the world. However, use of social media also presents certain risks and carries with it certain responsibilities. To assist you in making responsible decisions about your use of social media, we have established these guidelines for appropriate use of social media, which applies to all Agency employees.
- In the rapidly expanding world of electronic communication, social media can mean many things. Social media includes all means of communicating or posting information or content of any sort on the Internet, including to your own or someone else’s web log or blog, journal or diary, personal web site, social networking or affinity web site, web bulletin board or a chat room, whether or not associated or affiliated with the Agency, as well as any other form of electronic communication.
- The same principles and guidelines found in the Agency policies and three basic beliefs apply to your activities online. Ultimately, you are solely responsible for what you post online. Before creating online content, consider some of the risks and rewards that are involved. Keep in mind that any of your conduct that adversely affects your job performance, the performance of fellow employees or otherwise adversely affects employees, children, families, or anyone served by the Agency, people who work on behalf of the Agency or Agency legitimate business interests may result in disciplinary action up to and including termination
- Carefully read these guidelines in this Handbook: Code of Conduct and Ethics, Nondiscrimination & Harassment, Conflicts of Interest, Public Statement/Publicity to ensure your postings are consistent with these guidelines. Inappropriate postings that may include discriminatory remarks, harassment, and threats of violence or similar inappropriate or unlawful conduct will not be tolerated and may subject you to disciplinary action up to and including termination.
- Employees must use extreme caution and good judgment to “friend”, or be a contact in any manner, with a family/parent of a child, childcare providers, or others who they serve through their work at the Agency to assure no harm will be done to a family, the child or others who they serve through their Agency work. An employee must review a new friend or continuing friend situation with her/his supervisor. Employees are strictly prohibited from including any confidential/private information in any specific or general way and/or photographs related to the Agency, its employees, children, families, or other people served by the Agency on any form of social media.
- Always be fair and courteous to fellow employees, families, children, and other people who are served by the Agency or work on behalf of the Agency. Also, keep in mind that you are more likely to resolved work related complaints by speaking directly with your co-workers than by posting complaints to a social media outlet. Nevertheless, if you decide to post complaints or criticism, avoid using statements, photographs, video or audio that reasonably could be viewed as malicious, obscene, threatening or intimidating, that disparage employees, clients, or suppliers, or that might constitute harassment or bullying. Examples of such conduct might include offensive posts meant to intentionally harm someone’s reputation or posts that could contribute to a hostile work environment on the basis of race, sex, disability, religion or any other status protected by law or Agency policy.
- Make sure you are always honest and accurate when posting information or news related to the Agency and if you make a mistake, correct it quickly. Be open about any previous posts you have altered. Remember that the Internet archives almost everything; therefore, even deleted postings can be searched. Never post any information or rumors that you know to be false about the Agency, fellow employees, Agency families, children, or others served by the Agency, suppliers, people working on behalf of the Agency or Agency partners.
- Maintain the confidentiality of Agency business or confidential information. Do not post internal reports, policies, procedures or other internal business-related confidential communications.
- Do not create a link from your blog, website or other social networking site to the Agency website without identifying yourself as an Agency employee.
- Express only your personal opinions. Never represent yourself as a spokesperson for the Agency. If the Agency is a subject of the content you are creating, be clear and open about the fact that you are an Agency employee and make it clear that your views do not represent those of the Agency, fellow employees, Agency families, children, or others served by the Agency, suppliers or people working on behalf of the Agency. If you do publish a blog or post online related to the work you do or subjects associated with the Agency, make it clear that you are not speaking on behalf of the Agency. It is best to include a disclaimer such as “The postings on this site are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Agency.”
- Refrain from using social media while on work time or on equipment provided by the Agency, unless it is work-related as authorized by your supervisor or consistent with the Agency Computer and Network policy. Do not use the Agency email addresses to register on social networks, blogs or other online tools utilized for personal use.
- The Agency prohibits taking negative action against any employee for reporting a possible deviation from this policy or for cooperating in an investigation. Any employee who retaliates against another employee for reporting a possible deviation from this policy or for cooperating in an investigation will be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination.
- Employees should not speak to the media on the Agency’s behalf. All media inquiries should be directed to the Executive Director or the Executive Assistant.
If you have questions or need further guidance, please contact the Executive Assistant or Human Resources
Policy Council approved: September 2015
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