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Companies Have a Role in Stopping Bad Behavior on the Internet


In the article “Companies Have a Role in Stopping Bad Behavior on the Internet,” featured in Enterprise, Peter Gillespie discussed how companies can play a role in making Internet trolls think twice before they spout off.

“I think companies overall tend to be pretty vigilant about wanting to protect their business reputation and their goodwill with clients or business partners,” said Peter. “Certainly if they see that an employee is engaged in online misconduct in a way that ties back to the business or the employer, they will be very quick to take appropriate action.”

“I don’t think a free speech argument carries the day when you’ve got employees who are engaged in unacceptable behavior,” he stated. “If someone’s harassing someone online and the employer’s aware of it, and then similar behavior happens in the workplace, there’s a risk that someone could say the company knew this person behaved this way and tolerated it.”

Perhaps companies should be a bit more explicit in explaining that what you do in your personal time can matter just as much. (Peter noted that companies have to walk a fine line there, as the National Labor Relations Board is very protective of a worker’s ability to voice opinions about an employer. But I’m not talking about work gripes in a chat room with colleagues. I’m talking about the aggressive and profane harassment of individuals — often strangers — with whom a person disagrees.)

“Generally the safest thing for employers to do is to make sure their handbooks reflect their business interests and not having their business reputation and business goodwill impinged by employees going out and engaging in antisocial and inappropriate conduct on social media,” he said.

To read the full article, please visit Enterprise.

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