Restraint of Trade- Social Media Platforms

The use of social media in the workplace is dramatically changing how we go about business, bringing both significant opportunities as well as potential threats.

Without adequate safeguards, the contacts made by employees on social networking platforms, such as LinkedIn, could be retained by the employee and used to the detriment of the previous employer.

There are a number of actions that your business should definitely consider to help safeguard itself against potential loss and damage, in terms of client relationships, confidential information and intellectual property:

  1. ensure your contracts of employment include the most thorough protection possible;
  2. introduce  policies and procedures that cover the use of information in a social media context and set rules around how employees can and cannot use social media to network with customers and prospective customers;
  3. matters to address with new employees on commencement of the employment relationship, so that the expectations in relation to the use of, and rights associated with, social media contacts both during and after employment are clearly set out; and
  4. how other measures (such as paying for "premium accounts" on LinkedIn) can demonstrate professional networks created in the course of employment as distinct from social networks that may fall outside the bounds of employment and remain unprotected.