Companies need to have a proper social media policy

President of the Human Resource Management Association of Barbados (HRMAB) Arlene Bushell believes there are important lessons for both employers and employees arising out of the recent sacking of an iMart cashier over a video she posted on social media.

Tammy Edwards, now popularly known as the Eyebrow Girl, was fired after she publicly complained in her post which went viral, about having to vacate Sheraton Mall with her eye makeup incomplete during a fire drill.

Tammy Edwards
Tammy Edwards

With the matter now before the Labour Department, Bushell said there were a number of considerations, including the fact that Edwards was on the job at the time; was wearing company uniform and that an emergency drill was in progress.

“The whole issue of a fire drill is a very serious one  . . . . You always have to respond. And then from what I saw of the post and heard in terms of what would have been said and the way in which it was done, those are obviously going to be concerns for her employer,” the human resource management specialist said.

She also said, “some of the language used [by Edwards] would be cause for concern as well.

“And, as I said, I cannot get away from the fact that a fire drill is a serious thing. I don’t know how many people remember that there was a serious fire at Sheraton some years ago. So all of that has to be taken into consideration,” Bushell stressed.

While agreeing with the umbrella Barbados Employers’ Confederation that social media was here to stay, Bushell told Barbados TODAY it was now a necessity for companies to have in place clear social media policies, “so that persons understand what is expected of them as employees of the organization”.

“You have situations where people say, ‘we have rights’. And yes, the organizations respect those rights, but the employer has rights as well,” she cautioned.

“You work for an organization and it will have policies and standards that they want to set and adhered to. There is corporate responsibility. So all those things come into play. So you are not saying that people should not use social media or that they should not have social media accounts. The main thing there is to act responsibly.”

Bushell said HRMAB would be pushing for such policies to be put in place, adding that in cases where they already exist, the focus would be on making them easy to understand and readily available to employees.

Bushell was speaking on the sidelines of the HRMAB’s 18th annual conference at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre. The two-day event, which ends today, is being held under the theme, Partnering to Empower, Inspire and Transform. 

One Response to Companies need to have a proper social media policy

  1. Ian Bourne October 31, 2016 at 8:44 am

    Yet there is a fine line in reviewing a potential employee’s Instagram, Twitter or Facebook account and being Big Brother, who draws the line and how far does it go? Where dos an individual’s right to disagree with policy end and a company’s mandate begin? In this case of “One Eyebrow” the video while having mild language was not against her employer, it was examining the timing and inconvenience of a situation. Granted fires wait for no one to apply make-up, nevertheless, it seems this case invades Tammy Edwards’ rights for complaint.


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