Northern Health Social Media Policy

For Staff » Northern Health Social Media Policy



Purpose and Scope

The purpose of this policy is to give Northern Health employees and volunteers guidance on appropriate social media code of conduct.

Northern Health recognises that staff may wish to use social media in their personal lives.
This policy does not intend to discourage or restrict limit staff’s personal expression or online activities.

However, staff should recognise the potential for damage to be caused, either directly or indirectly, to Northern Health in certain circumstances via their personal use of social media when they can be identified as an employee.

Accordingly, staff should comply with this policy to ensure that the risk of such damage is minimised.
All staff are personally responsible for the content they publish in a personal capacity on any form of social media platform.

For the purpose of this policy, social media is the term used for internet based tools for sharing and discussing information with others. It refers to user-generated information, opinion and other content shared and discussed over open digital networks.

Social media may include, although is not limited to:

  • Social networking sites (e.g. Facebook, Linkedin and MySpace);
  • Video and photo sharing websites (e.g. Flickr and Youtube);
  • Blogs, including corporate blogs and personal blogs;
  • Micro-blogging (e.g. Twitter);
  • Forums and discussion boards and groups (e.g. Google groups and Whirlpool);
  • Wikis (e.g. Wikipedia);
  • Podcasting; and
  • Emailing and instant messaging.

General Principles
Whether using social media for official use, or in a private capacity, employees must not do anything that may adversely affect their standing as an employee of Northern Health or engage in any online activity which could bring themselves or Northern Health into disrepute.

The nature of social media increases the risk of reputational damage through private activities such as:

  • Posting images, information or links to images or information;
  • Disclosing one’s own or other’s personal information; and
  • Engaging in a heated debate or argument.

Staff must not publish or discuss any patient information, conversations or information that is in breach of the Health Records Act or Privacy Policy.

Staff should respect copyright laws and fair use of copyrighted material and attribute work to the original author/source wherever possible.

When accessing social media via the Northern Health’s Internet and intranet systems, staff must do so in accordance with ICT Internet and Email Usage Policy, which requires staff to use these resources ‘reasonably’, in a manner that does not interfere with their work, and is not inappropriate or excessively accessed.

Your Views
The following should be taken into consideration when comments, views or opinions can identify you as an employee.

Staff and Volunteers must:

  • Only disclose and discuss publicly available information;
  • Ensure that all content published is accurate and not misleading and complies with all relevant departmental and policies; and
  • Be polite and respectful to all people they interact with.

Staff and Volunteers must not:

  • Post material that is offensive, obscene, defamatory, threatening, harassing, bullying, discriminatory, hateful, racist, sexist, infringes copyright or is otherwise unlawful;
  • Imply that they are authorised to speak as a representative of Northern Health or give the impression that the views they express are those of Northern Health;
  • Use their company email address or any Northern Health logos or insignia; or
  • Use or disclose any confidential information obtained in their capacity as an employee/contractor of Northern Health.

Work Place Relationships
Workplace bullying and harassment includes any bullying or harassing comments employees make online, even on their own private social networks or out of office hours.

Abusive, harassing, threatening or defaming postings are in breach of Northern Health’s Human Resources policies, and will result in disciplinary action.

All employees are expected to treat their colleagues with respect and dignity, and must ensure their behavior does not constitute bullying and/or harassment.

Defamation, offensive or obscene material
Staff should refrain from publishing material that may cause injury to another person, organisation, association or company's reputation, and should seek further guidance if publication of such material is thought to be necessary.

The obligations on employees to support an environment free of discrimination, harassment and bullying also apply to their use of social media.

Material may be offensive or obscene and may infringe relevant online classification laws if it pornographic, sexually suggestive, harassing, hateful, racist, sexist, abusive or discriminatory.

Inappropriate postings or use of social media can lead to disciplinary action, and also breaches under law such as defamation, privacy, and occupational health and safety.

Guidance for navigating legal issues
The above is offered as general guidance to assist staff in complying with the obligations set out in this policy.

When in doubt, staff are advised to seek further guidance from their manager, People and Culture or Corporate Communications.