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Employee monitoring policies being created across the country


The Mehlville Fire Protection District has recently implemented a new social media policy for its firefighters, and it is hoping to stop any problems before they arise, according to the Mehlville-Oakville Patch.

Even though there have been no cases in which a firefighter acted inappropriately while using their cell phone or social media accounts, the fire department wants to stop this from happening before it could. The new policy includes everything from accessing the sites while using district equipment to monitoring the firefighter’s social media pages, according to the news source.

“The district may monitor all messages and information on district provided communication devices or equipment while employees are both on and off duty. Employees need to anticipate their district provided communication devices or equipment may be monitored for seemingly routine business purposes or no purpose at all,” the new policy states.

These firefighters from Mehlville are not the first employees to be monitored and they will certainly not be the last. Even the current Summer Olympics can illustrate why social media policies as well as employee monitoring systems need to be put in place.

According to the Entrepreneur, since the Olympics started up last week, a Greek triple jumper and a Swiss soccer player have been cut from their games because of their lewd remarks on Twitter. Although being on an Olympic team has little to do with business, social media mistakes are mistakes nonetheless, and business owners can learn from these missteps.

First of all, employers need to ensure their workers are well aware of any social media policy put in place, and understand that what the employee is doing during company time on company-owned computers will be monitored. Plus, a list of what they can write and what they can’t may also save some hassle in the long run.

“Just realizing that they can change the brand perception with as little as 140 characters will usually make employees think before they tweet,” Scott Stratten, author and founder of Ontario-based marketing company Un-Marketing, told the news source.

It is also important for a business to have a human resources plan in place for when social media mistakes are made. This way, any problem can be quickly rectified and the person who made the misstep can suffer the necessary consequences, the news outlet reports.