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Proskauer Releases 2014 Social Media in the Workplace Global Study

Survey shows sharp increase in ongoing business misuse – over 70% of companies resort to taking employee disciplinary action – and offers corporate best practices

April 29, 2014 (London) – Proskauer released today its 2014 global survey, Social Media in the Workplace Around the World 3.0. Among the survey’s key findings: While nearly 90 percent of companies use social media for business purposes and almost half allow employees to use social media for non-business activities, more than 70 percent of employers report having to take disciplinary action against employees for misuse (a significant uptick from 35 percent in 2012).

“When we published our first survey in 2011, there was a sense of novelty and even mystery about social media usage in the workplace. Harnessing social media for business lacked the sophistication and prominence that it has today,” said Daniel Ornstein, London-based co-head of Proskauer’s International Labor & Employment Law Group. “This year, we found a marked increase in the number of businesses that have implemented social media policies and other measures to address the risks arising out of social media misuse by their employees. The shift from novel to normal is now a reality.”

In addition to implementing policies, the survey also highlighted that businesses are now taking precautions to protect against specific risks associated with misuse of social media, such as:

  • Misuse of confidential information (80 percent)
  • Misrepresenting the views of the business (71 percent)
  • Inappropriate non-business use (67 percent)
  • Disparaging remarks about the business or employees (64 percent)
  • Harassment (64 percent) 

According to Erika Collins, New York-based co-head of Proskauer’s International Labor & Employment Law Group, “The near ubiquitous use of social media for business has led to a maturing appreciation of workplace risks arising out of its misuse – the more that people use social media for business purposes, the greater the chances that the line between personal use and business use will continue to blur.”

 “The survey clearly reveals that many businesses have yet to implement significant measures to protect themselves from social media misuse. Conducting annual audits, employee training and including ex-employees in your social media strategy are among the best practices we recommend to employers in this year’s report,” added Yasmine Tarasewicz, Paris-based co-head of Proskauer’s International Labor & Employment Law Group.   

The Proskauer study was conducted in collaboration with its affiliate law firms around the world. More than 110 respondents from a broad range of multinational businesses participated in the survey, detailing their social media policies and practices in jurisdictions including Argentina, Brazil, Canada, China, Denmark, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Spain, The Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the United States.

View the full Social Media in the Workplace Around the World 3.0 survey and best practices.

Dubbed a “powerhouse” by Chambers USA and “amazing strategists” with “fantastic technical know-how” by Chambers Europe, Proskauer’s L&E Department is one of the strongest practices in the world with more than 160 lawyers across the United States, London, Paris and Beijing. In addition to receiving the highest rankings in US Legal 500, the practice was honored in 2014 by Chambers Global with a first-tier ranking in the United States, in 2013 by Chambers USA with a nationwide first-tier ranking as well as the 2012 Award for Excellence in Labor & Employment. Our International Labor & Employment Law Group has decades of experience advising global companies on international and cross-border workplace issues that arise in different jurisdictions.