1. Can the employer restrict the employee’s use of Internet and social media during working hours?
Employers may grant access to the internet and social media to employees as an additional working tool. Consequently, the employer may filter and restrict internet access and prevent the social media access from computers provided to his employee.
However, when social media involves the use of corporate email addresses, the employer’s control regarding its use may conflict with employees’ right to privacy. Therefore, it is advisable to put in place a Human Resources policy describing permitted and forbidden use of this tool and employer’s right to verify at any time the correct use of this working tool with no need of employees’ express consent.
2. Employee’s use of social media to disparage the employer or divulge confidential information
In general terms, the use of social media will be considered a private act from the employee and thus, the employer’s discipline measures will not be legally valid. However, if the employer can prove the employee´s misconduct in violation with his statutory obligations and that conduct caused damage to the employer, a disciplinary measure may be imposed evaluating the misconduct and damage occurred.
Furthermore, the division between professional and private life is broken when actions that can be related to the sphere of individual freedom of the employee (the decision to post pictures, videos, share ideas, thoughts, experiences, opinions or reviews) have an effect not only on that person, but also on the image and reputation of the company, other employees or customers.