Social Media is defined as a type of interactive online media communication and the sharing of data in a public forum. It includes e-mail, social forums, blogs, video and image-sharing facilities.
This policy is aimed at avoiding mistakes which may result in reputational, legal and ethical issues through a common-sense approach. It also aims to maintain a safe, professional environment for staff whilst protecting themselves as well as the nursery and wider university.
The University has a set of guidelines for the use of social media as part of work duties.
For staff using social media in their personal lives the following should be observed:
- The University recognises that many employees make use of social media in a personal capacity. Whilst they are not acting on behalf of the Nursery or University, employees must be aware that they can damage the Nursery or University if they are recognised as being one of our employees.
- Employees are allowed to say that they work for the University, which recognises that it is natural for its staff sometimes to want to discuss their work on social media. The employee's online profile (for example, the name of a blog or a Twitter name) may contain the University's name, but should be focused to the area in which the employee works.
- If employees do discuss their work on social media (for example, giving opinions on their specialism or the sector in which the University operates), they should include on their profile a statement along the following lines: "The views I express here are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of my employer."
Any communications that staff make through social media must not breach confidentiality by:
- revealing confidential intellectual property or information owned by the University
- giving away confidential information about an individual (such as a colleague or partner contact) or organisation (such as a partner institution)
- discussing the Nursery’s or University's internal workings (such as agreements that it is reaching with partner institutions/customers or its future business plans that have not been communicated to the public)
- do anything that could be considered discriminatory against, or bullying or harassment of, any individual
- make offensive or derogatory comments relating to sex, gender reassignment, race (including nationality), disability, sexual orientation, religion or belief or age
- using social media to bully another individual (such as an employee of the Nursery or University)
- posting images that are discriminatory or offensive or links to such content
- bring the Nursery or University into disrepute, for example by criticising or arguing with students, customers, colleagues, partners or competitors
- making defamatory comments about individuals or other organisations or groups
- posting images that are inappropriate or links to inappropriate content
- breach copyright, for example by using someone else's images or written content without permission or failing to give acknowledgement where permission has been given to reproduce something.
To reduce the risks of any of the above being breached, nursery staff are not permitted to ‘be-friend’ nursery parents on social media sites such as Facebook. This remains the case even after parents no longer have their children attending the nursery.
Disciplinary action over social media use
All employees are required to adhere to these guidelines. Employees should be aware that use of social media in a way that may be deemed as deliberate or inadvertent misuse which could be a breach of these guidelines, may lead to disciplinary action under the University’s disciplinary procedure. Serious breaches of these guidelines, for example incidents of bullying of colleagues or social media activity causing serious damage to the Nursery or University, may constitute gross misconduct and may lead to action under the disciplinary procedure up to and including dismissal.
This policy was reviewed in November 2021.