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The Next Employer Worry: Anonymous Social Media Apps

When Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other apps first made their appearances over a decade ago, employers reacted (some say over-reacted) and quickly began issuing workplace policies to limit or even curtail all employee use of these outlets.  By now, most employers have come to an understanding of how employees can and should be able to use social media outlets as an extension of their everyday work, and even the organization's online image and branding.

Now, a newer form of social media, apps where users can post completely anonymously, have led to some workplace issues that employers need to carefully consider and address.

In a story on March 8, 2015 in the New York Times, colleges are dealing in a world where students are using Yik Yak, an anonymous social media app, to make “racist, homophobic and misogynist 'yaks' ” that may be creating a hostile work environment for professors and others.  An Eastern Michigan University professor, Margaret Crouch, is quoted as saying, “I have been defamed, my reputation besmirched. I have been sexually harassed and verbally abused. I am about ready to hire a lawyer.

While not yet prevalent as much in the private sector as on college campuses, employers should be prepared for this next "advance" in social media by carefully considering how it will react to such apps in the workplace.

Posted on March 09, 2015 by Gary B. Kushner, SPHR, CBP, President and CEO

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