In many ways, the rise of internet culture has benefited businesses. It has never been easier for organizations to connect with their intended consumer base and develop a cohesive brand. Advertising is faster and in some ways easier, as businesses can target specific demographics and can potentially go viral with online marketing content. Online activity has also made it easier for companies to recruit bright and capable talent and even to accommodate those with certain disabilities by allowing them to work remotely.
Unfortunately, the culture of online sharing can also be very dangerous for businesses. Any former employee with a chip on their shoulder could potentially take to social media and create an exaggerated rant against the company that goes viral. How do modern employers protect against the risks of online defamation on social media and elsewhere?
Their employment contracts address the issue
The easiest way for a company to protect itself against the misconduct of its current and former workers involves including the right terms in employment contracts. Social media policies and agreements have become popular in recent years. Such contract inclusions help avoid both defamation and also reduce the likelihood of a worker hurting the brand with their online activity.
Employers may prohibit workers from listing a specific employer on their social media profiles or openly discussing the job online. In some cases, companies might have restrictive covenants integrated into employment contracts to prevent unfair competition in the future.
Nondisclosure agreements are another popular restrictive covenant, as they can keep a worker from talking about private information about the company’s operations long after they leave their employment. Of course, workers subject to such agreements might still violate them, but the company will then have a strong case to take the worker to court and enforce the agreement.
Modern employment contracts need to address modern business risks
Companies that continue using the same employment contracts for years could very easily leave themselves exposed to challenges in the future. Regular review and updates to employment contracts will help organizations maximize company protection and minimize the possibility of current or future workers doing real harm to the brand’s reputation.
Crafting appropriate and protective employment contracts with the assistance of an experienced legal professional can be crucial for organizations in an increasingly online world.