Follow The Republic:
Bartholomew County expects its employees to be respectful, honest, accurate and on their own time when they post to Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites.
For the first time, the Bartholomew County personnel policies handbook would include guidelines on the use of social media by county employees under a revision being considered by County Commissioners for final approval Monday.
The county is updating the handbook it uses to guide employees on the county’s rules. Among the changes are new rules about part-time employees and their benefits, and the use of social media.
The social media policies include sites such as LinkedIn and YouTube and blogs on Wordpress.
“Ultimately, employees are solely responsible for what they post online,” the new policy warns. “Before creating online content, consider some of the risks and rewards that are involved.”
Those risks can include disciplinary action up to termination if employees’ online conduct adversely affects their job performance, the performance of fellow employees, the public or the county’s business interests.
County employees are instructed that if they have work-related complaints, they should speak directly with co-workers or the public to resolve the situation rather than posting complaints to a social media site.
“However, if you do post complaints or criticism, avoid using statements, photographs, video or audio that reasonably could be viewed as malicious, obscene and threatening or intimidating, that disparages co-workers, county vendors or the public, or that might constitute harassment or bullying,” the policy says.
The policy also stresses that the county’s computers and the employees’ work time are reserved for work purposes. Employees are allowed to use personal cellphones to access social media sites during their lunch breaks if it does not create a disruption for others. But during work hours, access to social media sites by cellphone also is prohibited.
Barb Hackman, the county auditor and a member of the county’s personnel committee, said the handbook was last revamped about two years ago. The intervening changes are compiled and then added to the handbook the next time it is updated, she said. The handbook is given out to new and existing employees, and they are required to sign that they have received the rules.
Hackman said there have been no particular incidents that sparked the inclusion of social media rules, but county officials agreed the rules were needed.
Earlier this year, the county changed its guidelines about who counts as a part-time employee to make sure the county complies with the nation’s new health care law. Under the policy adopted in April and included in the new version of the handbook, part-time employees cannot work more than 28 hours a week.
“The Affordable Care Act played a big part in some of the definitions that we use for full-time, part-time and seasonal, temporary help,” Hackman said.
The commissioners approved the new handbook on first reading Oct. 21.
Think your friends should see this? Share it with them!
Note: All comments left on our sites are first reviewed by an automated comment moderation system. Your comment may take up to 5 minutes to appear. If for any reason your comment can not be approved you will receive an email from this system with a detailed explanation.
All content copyright ©2013 The Republic, a division of Home News Enterprises unless otherwise noted.