UK Payroll Services
An Employer's Guide to Workplace Conduct and Discipline
Workplace Guide Contents > Mobiles, texting, social media and the Internet
5. Mobiles, texting, social media and the Internet
Use of mobiles, smart phones, e-mailing, the Internet and social media can be a source of problems. Reasonableness is the key and a written policy so that employees are clear as to what is permissible and what is not is essential. An example is given in the code of conduct.
During working hours employees should be working. That is a statement of fact. The employee has a lawful obligation to do his or her best for their employer - that is their part of the bargain.
Spending time on private matters is unacceptable regardless of technological change. Private calls should not be made during the working day and inward telephone calls should be discouraged except in emergencies. Any private communications during the working day should be exceptional.
Internet access during lunch breaks may be safely permitted but it must be made clear that the websites visited or material downloaded must be appropriate.
Make it clear that any e-mail arriving at a business e-mail address may legitimately be examined by the employer. But if employees maintain private email addresses their privacy will be respected, just as would an envelope arriving marked ‘Personal’ (but not ‘Private and confidential’, which can be properly opened).
While we hope the above has been found to be useful it is intended only as a general guide, may not reflect the very latest developments in law, and cannot be a substitute for professional advice. We cannot accept any responsibility for loss occasioned to any person acting or refraining from acting as a result of material contained in this guide.
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