One size doesn’t fit all for social media policies

The nuances of social network policy drafting is demonstrated in the case where a South Carolina a firefighter medic was fired because he produced videos dealing with a responder and a doctor in a medical situation and posted them to the Internet.  Steve Wirth, of Page, Wolfberg & Wirth LLC explained to a recent conference explained why.

The firefighter working for a public agency is afforded greater rights of free speech so that the firefighters comments about a public concern would be protected from firing but other information that goes to issue of work place grievances wouldn’t be protected.  But this constitutional protection doesn’t apply in a private employment situations.  

Again, the article goes on to explain what employers should do to protect themselves against worker abuse of social networking policies going so far as suggesting that employees sign confidentiality agreements.  But what about requiring employees to sign-off on proper social networking training? 

Perhaps the firefighter/medic who published his videos to YouTube, wouldn’t have done so had he been trained in social media use and made aware that such activity wouldn’t make him a likely candidate should he interview for another job in that field.


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