A Lawyer’s Guide To The Top Social Media Issues in Malta

As the adoption of social media increases, legal complexities surrounding its use proliferate further. The tenuous relationship between employment law and social activity is probably one of the more complex areas which has been snowballing in recent years.

Till a few years ago most of the questions put to me were fairly basic: “Is an online post subject to libel? Does my employer own my LinkedIn profile?”

Today however the questions are more complex:

  • What is the admissibility of digital evidence in a Court of Law in Malta – especially when the data is of a transient nature?
  • How do laws relating to discrimination, bullying and/or harassment extend to social media?
  • Do principles of vicarious liability extend to supervisory roles on social media? Indeed can an employer be held liable for an employee’s actions on a social platform?
  • May employers monitor social activity occurring on their network during working hours?
  • What principles of jurisdiction apply when social media activity is happening over multiple cloud environments?
  • Can an employer discipline an employee for his/her social media activity when using a personal profile after office hours?
  • Are background social checks permitted? Does a candidate for a published vacancy have the right to ask for his/her social record to be removed from the evaluation process?
  • Are trade secrets or others elements of confidential information posted on social media considered to be a breach of the Professional Secrecy Act (Cap. 377)?
  • Should employers enforce a social media use policy? What should it contain?
  • Does a LinkedIn connection imply a business connection which may conflict with an employee’s required behaviour (e.g. conflict of interest scenarios, or collusion with suppliers)?
  • Can a LinkedIn recommendation by an employer signify approval of the employee’s activity and thus risk jeopardising the employer in a termination scenario?

The Malta IT Law Association (MITLA), where I serve as Vice President is organising an information session called ‘Social Media and Employment: The Legal Implications’ which will be held on the 20th of November 2015 at SmartCity. All questions raised above will be addressed and participation is highly recommended for individuals who deal with all phases of employment and staff management.

Book your seat here: http://www.mitla.org.mt/employment-law/

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