Sample Social Media Policy For Restaurants

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QUESTION FROM: Kate in NJ

“An employee (who I love dearly) becomes fb friends with a group of customers. I don’t care what people do with their lives, I am the least judgmental person in the world. You are an independent woman and can do whatever you want with your body, your Facebook - however you are representing my business.

This employee posts all about drinking, orgasms, stupid memes about things 20 year olds would post. Now she has graduated to photos of herself in her underwear and posing provocatively with captions such as: “Hot for teacher”. She is friends with multiple customers.

Not sure how to approach this. Am I being a bitch and need to sit down and just deal with these things or do I say something to her? I have explained to her previously that my wife and I watch what we post just because we are close with customers.

Shouldn’t even have been friends with any, but hey shit happens. Help me. Please.”

HH ANSWER:

The first question I have to ask is this: “Is she really representing your business outside of work? “

In other words, does she list your restaurant as her place of employment? Does she post pictures of your restaurant online or share posts detailing specials? Does she discuss work in any way or share pictures of her in her uniform,etc...

If the answer is “No”, it’s my non-legal opinion that what employees legally do outside of work is probably (unless you have a strict code of conduct policy) their business and consequently...none of yours.

I’m not trying to be insensitive - but sometimes you have to worry more about what you can control and accept what you can’t - or just do your best to shift the culture.

Look, I realize the damaging effects that fake reviews, solicited ratings, disgruntled (or immature) employees and unscrupulous competitors can have on decent people and good businesses…especially in the pay-to-play media space that is presently ruled by open broadcast social media and directory resources where the loudest voices dictate consensus. They’re flawed multi-billion dollar ($37 Billion and counting to be precise) systems that exploit the public’s predilection for bad news (or as psychologists refer to it: “negativity bias”).

Because of the fact that I am not a lawyer, not experienced with the law, not knowledgeable of the law or licensed to provide legal counsel in any way; I would recommend you seek the counsel of a competent attorney in your area to discuss this matter as well as any thoughts, feedback, ideas and/or recommendations outlined here or elsewhere.

I have a pretty comprehensive social media policy framework that I recommend my clients review with their attorney (as the last thing I would want any operator, owner or manager to do is infringe on the rights of their employees or potentially open them up to additional liability) and I would guess that her conduct on social media would likely not violate even the most stringent guidelines that I’ve ever recommended...Unless you’ve answered yes to any of the above questions.

Your discomfort with this individual‘s personal and/or social life may just be that - your discomfort. And if that’s the case, I would simply say make sure you’re not friends with her on social media :-)

Your other option would be to consider implementing a media policy and general code of conduct for all employees.

SAMPLE MEDIA POLICY:

OVERVIEW: In the event the undersigned states, in any manner or form, their association with ___________________. e.g., lists ___________________, or one of our affiliates (herein referred to as “The Company”), as your employer or refer, in any way, to your employment with The Company on any social media or other public or private broadcast, dissemination or distribution which may include but shall not be limited to: public demonstration, assembly, interview, letter, voicemail or podcast - you hereby agree to abide by the following rules / terms (herein referred to as “THE COMPANY’S MEDIA POLICY” and “THE COMPANY’S CODE OF CONDUCT”: .

  1. Guests names, photographs, images and/or likenesses may not be shared without their express written consent.

  2. Personal and/or group grievances, disputes and or differences of opinion with regard to any general and/or specific operations of The Company shall not be shared without The Company’s express written consent

  3. Trade secrets, recipes, policies, Human Resource information including but not limited to: employment status, pay scale/wage, salary, benefits, corrective and/or disciplinary actions and any personal or financial identifying information of any employee, The Company’s procedures and/or The Company’s general proprietary information regarding The Company may not be disclosed and/or shared without the express written consent of The Company.

  4. No content may be shared, broadcast or submitted in any form or media that may reasonably be construed as intended to disparage, damage or otherwise harm the reputation of The Company, it’s employees, it’s guests, it’s vendors, it’s neighbors, it’s agents, it’s affiliates, it’s associates or it’s assigns.

  5. All employees must adhere to The Company’s CODE OF CONDUCT* as presented and unilaterally updated by The Company’s management team from time to time and made available by being physically displayed in, digitally stored on and/or physically delivered to the property.

TERM: The employee and/or Party signed hereto agree to be bound to this Agreement throughout the entire duration of their official appointment, employment or engagement with The Company.

The employee and/or Party signed hereto further agrees to be bound by this Agreement for a period of twelve (12) consecutive months following the date of official termination or extended (90 days or more) separation of employment and thus agrees to refrain for malicious, lible, lewd, defamatory, salacious, profane and/or offensive behavior, statements, posts and/or broadcasts in any media or form to the public or that may be reasonably made public with minimal effort notwithstanding the fact that the employee may no longer be under the employ of and/or no longer affiliated in any way with The Company.


BREACH OF CONTRACT: Violations of this policy will result in documentation that necessitate an action plan which may include The Company to take corrective actions up to and including termination of your employment with The Company and/or legal recourse.

Due to the fact that termination alone may not resolve or cure harm done and because breach of this Agreement can cause irreparable and/or unquantifiable harm to The Company, The Company shall have the right to seek or obtain monetary damages from the Employee and/or spouse individually and/or collectively or any business entity related to / owned by the Employee and/or their spouse hereto bound under this Agreement (whether at law or in equity, in contract, in tort or otherwise) for estimated lost earnings and/or any additional loss, costs or injury suffered due to the breach if this Agreement as supported by proof of said breach.

LEGAL COUNSEL: All parties signed hereto attest that they have had time to read, consider and consult with legal representation if so desired and/or in the event any part, term or meaning here and is ambiguous or unclear.

In addition, should it be necessary for The Company to employ legal counsel to enforce any of the provisions contained herein, Employee agrees to pay all reasonable attorney's fees and court costs reasonably incurred.

CODE OF CONDUCT: Additionally, the parties signed hereto have read, understand and agree to be bound by the terms of The Company’s CODE OF CONDUCT policy which the parties signed hereto understand and agree shall extend beyond the physical property and include / extend to any public act, mentioning, assembly, photograph, recording, comments, postings, digital transmission of material or material act that is: inflammatory, discriminatory, violent, injurious, lewd, sexist, racist or defamatory in any way or that may reasonably be construed as such or as likely to potentially inflict injury, incite violence, or damage The Company, it’s employees, guests, customers, agents, vendors, neighbors, agents and/or assigns. This shall include any private act that is documented and intentionally made public which includes but shall not be limited to: mentionings, photographs, audio and/or video recordings, comments or behavior that is inflammatory, discriminatory, violent, injurious, lewd, sexist, racist or defamatory in any way to The Company, it’s agents, guests, employees, vendors or assigns or that may reasonably be construed as such and/or that may potentially inflict injury, incite violence, or damage to The Company, it’s employees, guests, customers, agents, vendors, neighbors, agents and/or assigns.

In the absence of a physical or digital copy of The Company’s CODE OF CONDUCT, or The Company’s failure to produce one within five (5) banking days, the aforementioned terms contained herein, shall represent the code in it’s entirety.

FAILURE TO ENFORCE: No failure of The Company to enforce this policy at all or within a timely manner or fashion shall be construed as a waiver of it’s rights to do so later or your willingness to be bound by these policies as your signature below confirms.

SEVERABILITY: If any clause, or portion of a clause, in this Agreement is considered invalid under the rule of law, it shall be regarded as stricken and, if permissible by law, the employee shall agree to The Company, via independent counsel, to amend such clause or language with substituted verbiage consistent with the spirit and overall intent in it’s place. Such verbiage may not substantially change any part or the whole of this Agreement but merely serve to clarify and make legally binding the intent while the remainder of this Agreement shall continue to be in full effect.

NON LIBLE: The employee signed hereto agrees to hold The Company non liable and at no fault for any injury, perceived injury, loss or perceived loss, error, act, failure to act or omission related or unrelated to this Agreement and/or their employment.

INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY: The employees signed hereto further agrees to waive any intellectual property right(s) to their image, likeness, name, work, creation(s), concepts, ideas or activity while in the employ of The Company and agree that, as an employee, such is considered work produced for The Company, and as such the sole rights and ownership belongs exclusively to The Company who may use such property including but not limited to any: work, image, likeness, creations, designs, and recipes, in any promotional or productive capacity deemed appropriate and/or useful to The Company.

Good Luck and let me know what your attorney says!