The Impact of Social Media on Employment Practices Liability

Social media platforms are crucial to today’s digital society and play a role in both personal and professional interactions. Although social media is beneficial for businesses, it also creates some potential challenges, particularly with employment practices liability. Employers should understand how social media contributes to the company’s potential legal risks and take steps to mitigate them. We take a look at social media’s influence on employment practices liability and offer tips to help you mitigate your risks.

Understanding Employment Practices Liability in the Digital Era

Before you can really understand the role of social media for employers, you should understand employment practices liability. It is the risk businesses face of lawsuits related to employment issues, decisions, or practices. Some of the most common claims include discrimination, wrongful termination, harassment, and retaliation. Companies seek employment practices liability insurance (EPLI) to protect against losses from these claims.

The Influence of Social Media on EPLI Claims

Social media’s fundamental role in society puts it at the forefront of employment practices liability as well. Communication and interaction transformed as a result of social media, creating new considerations for liability risks.

Social Media and Hiring Practices

Social media helps recruiters and prospective employers locate potential candidates and conduct cursory assessments. However, it creates a liability concern when you factor social media profiles into hiring decisions. Protected factors, including religion, race, and age, are apparent on many social media platforms, leading to potential accusations of discriminatory hiring practices.

Employee Social Media Use

Because social media is such a core part of the human experience today, many employees use their profiles to express opinions and share experiences. Negative comments about your business or an employee’s coworkers can leave the company at risk of harassment or hostile work environment claims.

Businesses also risk confidential and proprietary information dissemination on social media platforms. This may create intellectual property disputes or violate confidentiality agreements.

Retaliation and Whistleblower Claims

Employees may use social media to express concerns about work environments and workplace practices, and any employment actions after that could lead to retaliation claims. Employees expressing concerns about misconduct or illegal activities, even on social media, have whistleblower protections.

Mitigating Social Media-Related EPLI Risks

Businesses need to balance the prevalence of social media with the company’s risk mitigation for employment practices liability.

Develop Clear Social Media Policies

Publish clear company policies on social media use that define acceptable use for employees and applicant review. Address harassment and discrimination prevention, confidentiality, and representation of the brand in the policy.

Provide Training and Education

Educate your staff about the social media policies, expectations, and potential consequences of violations.

Secure Employment Practices Liability Insurance

Protect your company’s risk exposure with Employment Practices Liability Insurance. These policies cover costs associated with legal defense, judgments and settlements for employment-related claims.

Social media has changed all aspects of society, including business operations and engagement. Consider its effect on your company’s employment practices, and take the necessary steps to protect your interests. Recognizing and mitigating risks helps protect your business. The right employment practices liability policy can also minimize your company’s financial exposure.

About Haughn & Associates

Founded by Michael Haughn in 1986, Haughn & Associates is a full-service, family-owned, independent insurance agency based out of Dublin, Ohio. H&A strives to provide the best possible price and unique insurance solutions across a myriad of industries, including construction, IT, Habitation & Commercial Property, Agriculture, and Engineering. Devoted to providing the best of business insurance, life and disability insurance, personal insurance, employee benefits, and bonds, H&A is proof that success lies in long-standing client relations and satisfaction. To learn more about how H&A can be of service to you, contact us at (877) 802-2278.