Monday, March 1, 2010

Is it wrong to “friend” your boss on Facebook?

Mashable reports on a recent survey conducted by Liberty Mutual’s Responsibility Project, in which 56% of Americans reported that “it’s ‘irresponsible’ to friend your boss on Facebook, while 62% of bosses agree it’s wrong to friend an employee.” These numbers simply beg the question – what does your social media policy say about this issue? Here’s 5 suggestions (with attribution for the first three to Molly DiBianca at the Delaware Employment Law Blog):

  1. Anything goes. Any employee can friend any other employee regarding of rank or position.

  2. Supervisors are prohibited from friending direct reports, but employees can friend their supervisors (who can choose whether to accept the request).

  3. Supervisors and their reports cannot be Facebook friends, regardless of who initiates the request.

  4. Employees are only permitted to be Facebook friends with their peers. No one can friend anyone higher or lower on the org chart.

  5. Employees are expressly prohibited from being Facebook friends with any co-workers, regardless of position.

The option you choose has a lot more to do with your corporate culture than what is legal or illegal. Your choice, however, will impact certain legal issues, such as harassment liability.

Regardless of which option you choose, you should choose one to incorporate into your social media policy. You don’t have a social media policy? To get started, I suggest Drafting a social networking policy: 7 considerations.

Presented by Kohrman Jackson & Krantz, with offices in Cleveland and Columbus. For more information, contact Jon Hyman, a partner in our Labor & Employment group, at (216) 736-7226 or