1. POLICY STATEMENT
1.1 As staff are aware, the internet is provided primarily for business use. The Company recognises that staff use the internet for personal purposes outside normal working hours and that many individuals participate in social networking on websites such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, Bebo or Friendster and other social networking sites, Wikipedia and other domains where it is possible to leave internet postings, including blogs (collectively "Social Networking Websites").
1.2 The purpose of this policy is to outline the responsibilities of staff using the internet to access Social Networking Websites.
1.3 This policy on Social Networking Websites is in addition to the Company's existing policy on Electronic Mail, Internet & PC access and usage Policy.
1.4 It does not form part of any employee's contract of employment and may be amended at any time.
2. WHO IS COVERED BY THE POLICY
2.1 This policy covers all individuals working at all levels, including individuals directly employed by Aga Rangemaster Group, consultants, contractors and agency staff (collectively referred to as staff in this policy).
2.2 Third parties who have access to our electronic communication systems and equipment are also required to comply with this policy.
3. SCOPE AND PURPOSE OF THE POLICY
3.1 This policy deals with the use of all forms of social media on any/all Social Networking Websites.
3.2 It applies to the use of social media for personal purposes, whether during office hours or otherwise. The policy applies regardless of whether the social media is accessed using IT facilities and equipment belonging to the Company or equipment belonging to members of staff or otherwise.
3.3 Breach of this policy may result in disciplinary action up to and including dismissal. Any member of staff suspected of committing a breach of this policy will be required to co-operate with our investigation, which may involve handing over relevant passwords and login details.
3.4 Staff may be required to remove internet postings which are deemed to constitute a breach of this policy. Failure to comply with such a request may in itself result in disciplinary action.
4. USE OF SOCIAL MEDIA - STAFF RESPONSIBILITIES
We recognise that staff may occasionally desire to use social media for personal activities at the office or by means of the Company's computers, networks and other IT resources and communications systems. We authorise such personal use outside of normal working hours, during lunch breaks etc. so long as it does not involve unprofessional or inappropriate content and does not interfere with your employment responsibilities or productivity. While using social media at work, circulating chain letters/e-mails or other spam is never permitted. Circulating or posting commercial, personal, religious or political solicitations, or promotion of outside organisations unrelated to the Company's business are also prohibited.
4.1 Social media should never be used in a way that breaches any of the Group's other policies. For example, staff are prohibited from using social media to :
(i) breach our Electronic Mail, Internet and PC Usage and Access policy
(ii) breach our obligations with respect to the rules of relevant regulatory bodies;
(iii) breach any obligations they may have relating to confidentiality;
(iv) breach our Disciplinary Rules;
(v) defame or disparage the Company or its affiliates, customers, clients, business partners, suppliers, vendors or other stakeholders;
(vi) harass or bully other staff in any way;
(vii) unlawfully discriminate against other staff or third parties or breach our Equality Policy;
(viii) breach our Data protection policy (for example, never disclose personal information about a colleague or any third party online);
(ix) breach any other laws or ethical standards (for example, never use social media in a false or misleading way, such as by claiming to be someone other than yourself or by making misleading statements).
4.2 Staff should never provide references for other individuals on social or professional networking sites, as such references, positive and negative, can be attributed to the Company and create legal liability for both the author of the reference and the Company.
4.3 The Company respects an individual's right to a private life. However, the Company must also ensure that confidentiality and its reputation are protected. It therefore requires staff using Social Networking Websites to:
(i) refrain from identifying themselves as working for the Company where possible, and if details are included e.g. LinkedIn, ensure the details are factually correct and limited to designated job title and correct company name only;
(ii) ensure that they do not conduct themselves in a way that is detrimental to the employer; and
(iii) take care not to allow their interaction on these websites to damage working relationships between members of staff and clients of the Company
4.4 If you see content in social media that disparages or reflects poorly on the Company, it's staff or other stakeholders, you should contact your line manager, the HR department or the Group Internal Audit Manager on 44 (0)1926 455747. All staff are responsible for protecting our business reputation.
5. PROTECTING OUR BUSINESS REPUTATION:
5.1 Staff should also avoid social media communications that might be
misconstrued in a way that could damage our business reputation, even indirectly.
5.2 If you disclose your affiliation as an employee of the Company, you must also state that your views do not represent those of your employer. For example, you should state "the views in this posting do not represent the views of my employer" or words to a similar effect. You should also ensure that your profile and any content you post are consistent with the professional image you present to clients and colleagues.
5.3 Staff should not do anything to jeopardise our valuable trade secrets and other confidential information and intellectual property through the use of social media.
5.4 Do not post comments about sensitive business-related topics. Commenting on business information is absolutely prohibited, whether in relation to sales, customer lists, financials, business or marketing plans, performance or prospects. Even if you make it clear that your views on such topics do not represent those of the Company, your comments could still damage our reputation and you may be at risk of breaking the law on disclosing insider information and be at risk of market abuse.
5.5 Do not use our logos, brand names, slogans or other trademarks, or post any of our confidential or proprietary information without prior written permission.
5.6 Staff are personally responsible for what they communicate in social media. Remember that what you publish might be available to be read by many parties (including the Company itself, future employers and social acquaintances) and be available for a long time. Keep this in mind before you post content.
6. MONITORING OF SOCIAL MEDIA USAGE
6.1 The Company reserves the right to monitor staff internet and social media usage. The Company considers that valid reasons for checking staff internet usage include suspicions that the individual has:
(i) been spending an excessive amount of time viewing websites that are not work-related; or
(ii) acted in a way that damages the reputation of the Company and/or breaches commercial confidentiality; or
(iii) acted in a way that breaches any of our policies.
6.2 The Company reserves the right to retain information that it has gathered on staff use of the internet for a period of one year.
We may use internet searches to perform due diligence on candidates in the course of recruitment. Where we do this, we will act in accordance with our data protection and equal opportunities obligations.
8.1 Staff should be aware that Social Networking Websites are a public forum, particularly if the individual is part of a "network". They should not assume that their entries on any website will remain private.
8.2 Staff must also be security conscious and should take steps to protect themselves from identity theft, for example by restricting the amount of personal information that they give out. Social Networking Websites allow people to post detailed personal information such as date of birth, place of birth and favourite football team etc., which can form the basis of security questions and passwords. In addition, staff should:
(i) ensure that no information is made available that could provide a person with unauthorised access to the Company and/or any confidential information; and
(ii) refrain from recording any confidential information regarding the Company on any Social Networking Website.
8.3 Staff should make it clear in social media postings that they are speaking on their own behalf. Write in the first person and use a personal e-mail address when communicating via social media.
9. MONITORING AND REVIEW OF THIS POLICY
9.1 The Group HR Director shall be responsible for reviewing this policy annually to ensure that it meets legal requirements and reflects best practice.
9.2 The Group HR Director also has responsibility for ensuring that any person who may be involved with the administration of or investigations carried out under this policy receives regular and appropriate training to assist them with these duties.
9.3 If you have any comments on this policy and suggestions on ways in which it might be improved contact the Group HR Director +44 (0)1926 457470.
9.4 This policy shall be formally reviewed on an annual basis.
Issue 1: 1 May 2012