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To ‘friend’ or not: Social media etiquette or liability issue?

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social media friends

by Dorraine A. Larison, Esq., Gray Plant Mooty, St. Cloud, Minnesota

According to a survey conducted by survey site SodaHead and the anonymous feedback site YouTell, the vast majority of people believe an employee should never friend his or her boss on a social network site like Facebook. In fact, 81% of responders rejected the idea. A parallel survey asking whether co-workers should friend each other led to more divided results: 55% pro, 45% con.

From an employment law standpoint, I think the far more interesting question is, “Should a boss friend an employee?”

When I conducted an informal survey of my firm’s attorneys, the resounding response was “NO!” Why? There are personal, business and legal reasons why a boss friending an employee—even one that he or she doesn’t directly supervise—can lead to trouble. Here are some of the concerns.

From a personal perspective

What happens when you learn the employee is violating comp...(register to read more)

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Anne July 7, 2014 at 5:45 pm

I do NOT friend my employees while they are in my department. If I really liked the employee on a personal level, if they move on to bigger and better jobs, I’ll ask to friend them, but I’ve only done that with one person.


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