Social Media and Workplace Investigations

Raquel Hoover Crump

ELS Attorney Raquel Crump

You’ve seen social media sites used in criminal investigations, but can they be used in workplace investigations? In most cases, yes. Publicly-posted social media posts can assist in conducting workplace investigations, but employers should proceed with caution. Some states have enacted laws and regulations that limit an employer’s access to their workers’ social media accounts.

A high percentage of today’s workforce is very active on-line and digital/ tech-savvy. So much of a worker’s life occurs online and the potential for inappropriate virtual atmosphere conduct taking place from within and outside of the workplace is very likely.

What Can Employers Do?

Be proactive and begin protecting your organization and its workers. Cyber bullying and harassment are examples of inappropriate conduct that can begin online and quickly move to the workplace. If complaining employees bring social media posts to an employer’s attention, it may be used as evidence during the investigation. However, this does not give an employer free reign to request access to the alleged harasser’s social media account, especially if it is private.

Specific action to consider:

  • Consult an employment law firm, like ELS, to review the applicable privacy laws
  • Create a social media policy – or update existing social media policies
  • Limit the use of social media in an investigation to public posts
  • Investigate all complaints, even those that begin in the digital space
  • Conduct an investigation

ELS attorneys have experience in conducting the following types of investigations for public and private entities: sexual harassment complaints, toxic workplace, bullying, discrimination, harassment, retaliation, and workplace misconduct.

Contact Raquel Crump at [email protected] for more information.