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Netherlands — Employers struggle with Social Media Codes

17 March 2010

Even though social networks like Twitter, Facebook and MySpace are immensely popular, few employers know what to do when their staff make derogatory remarks about their companies, Het Financieele Dagblad reports.

Stefan Sagel from lawyers firm De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek said, "there is no hard and fast rule in The Netherlands on when employers can intervene and how. Things are judged on a case-by-case basis. The position of the employee is also very important. A CEO can obviously do far more damage to a company than a coffee lady."

Sagel said further, "If employers want to take action, they stand a much better if they have made very clear what they will and will not tolerate. Employers can take steps from sending warnings to dismissal."

New Media Consultant Sophie Camp goes even further. She said, "employers need to realise that every employee is an ambassador nowadays. The times when you could instruct just one dedicated spokesperson are definitely over.
Companies like Oce, IBM and Coca-Cola have so-called 'Social Media Codes' which tell staff not to give out confidential information, not to insult or express racism and to generally avoid behaviour, which would not be tolerated in the workplace.

However, according to recent research carried out by staffing group Randstad, only 11% of European employers have such codes


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