If an employee is using their personal social media account, such as Linkedin, to advertise their own company, while also clearly stating they are an employee of our organization, would we as an employer have a right to ask them to either not state their association with both companies simultaneously or edit their posting?
Yes and It Depends
Even though it’s a personal account, you CAN ask the employee to refrain from associating him/herself with both companies. In fact, you may be able to require him/her to if you have clearly written policies or ethics codes restricting employees’ rights to use your corporate name, logos, property, etc. for personal uses or professional endeavors outside your company without permission. Even if you don’t, you can and probably should strongly advise the employee to cease and desist.
Your right to directly edit the posting depends on: i. whether the employee is using company computers or devices to post; ii. your computer use policy gives you the right to edit or take down posts made via your equipment, including language specifying that employee has no reasonable expectation of privacy or complete personal control over such communications.
At the end of the day, don’t get cowed because this is PERSONAL social media and keep in mind that court cases have made it abundantly clear that employers do have grounds to discipline employees for what they post about the company, its clients, employees, etc. on their private social media accounts. At that point, the issue becomes like any other disciplinary matter–did you have clear policies, warn the employee, etc. Hope that helps and enjoy the holiday. Glenn