So the question that we’re dealing with today is whether any LinkedIn connections you make when working for an employer actually belong to you.
✅ Your Employer may well have encouraged you to set up a LinkedIn profile to develop business and connect with clients.
✅ But did you know your connections may not belong to you?
Case Law Example
The first case on this issue was Hays Specialist Recruitment (Holdings) Ltd v Ions. Before leaving, Ions (the employee) had invited two of Hays’ clients to join his LinkedIn network. Hays claimed that this information was confidential, but Ions argued that once the contact had accepted his invitation on LinkedIn it ceased to be confidential. The Employment Tribunal rejected this and ordered Ions to disclose all of his LinkedIn business contacts as requested by Hays, plus all emails sent or received through his LinkedIn account from Hays’ computer network. The Employment Tribunal held that even if the contacts were uploaded with Hays’ consent, their authorisation was only for the purposes of employment.
Employees ideally should use a dedicated LinkedIn account during their employment and only use this account for the company’s purposes.
This way, both the employer and employee can agree that all contacts and connections belong to the company.
Credit: Warner Goodman
Ways to Avoid this Legal Situation Happening
According to Neal Schaffer, you should do the following:
➡️ Create your own personal LinkedIn account so you can be found by name or by company.
➡️ Separate your private connections from your employer’s connections.
➡️ All new employees, ideally should negotiate with their new employer as part of the job offer, to ensure that their LinkedIn connections would belong to the employee.
Other Things You can Check
Are you bound by a restrictive covenant?
This Is What HR Magazine Has to Say
Employers should ensure that employees understand the parameters of their LinkedIn use and place express restraints on that use. The best way to tackle any potential issues with social media in the workplace is by implementing an effective social media policy that covers the use of contacts and is tailored to specific business needs.
Credit: HR Magazine
What Are Your Thoughts on This?
💥 Have you been caught out by your employer or faced restrictions because of this?
💥 Love to know your thoughts on this in the comments, below.
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