Conduct and Social Media Policy 2019

Senior Members and Celebrants Conduct

and Social Media Policy

Personal Conduct

Senior Members and Celebrants of TLS must be aware of their own conduct whilst operating for TLS and ensure that they are 1) not operating for the purpose of profit or gain and that their conduct 2) maintains their status as a fit and proper person.

Any conduct highlighted to TLS as being contrary to the above will result in an investigation of the reported conduct.  Any senior member or celebrant deemed to have conducted themselves in such a manner that breaches the above two points shall be subject to the disciplinary policy of TLS.

Social Media definition and Conduct

Social media is an interactive online media that allows users to communicate instantly with each other or to share data in a public forum.  It includes social and business networking websites such as Facebook, Myspace, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter and LinkedIn.  Social media also covers video and image sharing websites such as YouTube and Flickr, as well as personal weblogs (“blogs”).  This is a constantly changing area with new websites being launched on a regular basis and therefore this list is not exhaustive.

This policy applies in relation to any social media that Members may use.

Use of social media when operating as a Senior Member or Celebrant of The Love Society

TLS permits Members to make reasonable and appropriate use of social media websites or to keep a personal weblog (“blog”) using TLS’s IT systems and equipment or their own computers or devices, such as laptops, mobile phones and other hand-held devices, during their normal working hours, provided this does not significantly interfere with their job duties or have a detrimental effect on their productivity.  

Members may also be asked to contribute to TLS’s own social media activities during normal working hours, for example by writing TLS blogs or newsfeeds or managing a Facebook account or running an official Twitter or LinkedIn account for TLS.  Members must be aware at all times that, while contributing to TLS’s social media activities, they are representing TLS.

TLS’s social media activities

Where Members are authorised to contribute to TLS’s own social media activities as part of their job duties, for example for marketing, promotional and recruitment purposes, they must adhere to the following rules:

  • Ensure that any posts or blogs are NOT published for the purpose of profit or gain.
  • Ensure that any posts or blogs maintain the members status as a fit and proper person.
  • Use the same safeguards as they would with any other type of communication about TLS that is in the public arena.
  • Ensure that any communication has a purpose and a benefit for TLS.
  • Obtain permission from the Chair before embarking on a public campaign using social media.
  • Request the Chair to check and approve content before it is published online.
  • Follow any additional guidelines given by TLS from time to time.

The social media rules set out below also apply as appropriate.

Social media rules

TLS recognises that many Members make use of social media in a personal capacity outside the workplace and outside normal working hours.  While they are not acting on behalf of TLS in these circumstances, Members must be aware that they can still cause damage to TLS if they are recognised online as being one of its Members.  Therefore, it is important that TLS has strict social media rules in place to protect its position.

When logging on to and using social media websites and blogs at any time, including personal use on non-TLS computers and mobile phones outside the workplace and outside normal working hours, Members must not:

  • Post or blog purely for the purpose of profit or gain.
  • Post or blog in a manner that questions their status as a fit and proper person.
  • Other than in relation to TLS’s own social media activities or other than where expressly permitted by TLS for business networking websites such as LinkedIn, publicly identify themselves as working for TLS, make reference to TLS or provide information from which others can ascertain the name of TLS.
  • Other than in relation to TLS’s own social media activities or other than where expressly permitted by TLS for business networking websites such as LinkedIn, write about their work for TLS – and, in postings that could be linked to TLS, they must also ensure that any personal views expressed are clearly stated to be theirs alone and do not represent those of TLS.
  • Conduct themselves in a way that is potentially detrimental to TLS or brings TLS or its Members, clients, customers, contractors or suppliers into disrepute, for example by posting images or video clips that are inappropriate or links to inappropriate website content.
  • Other than in relation to TLS’s own social media activities or other than where expressly permitted by TLS for business networking websites such as LinkedIn, use their work e-mail address when registering on such sites or provide any link to TLS’s website.
  • Allow their interaction on these websites or blogs to damage working relationships with or between Members and clients, customers, contractors or suppliers of TLS, for example by criticising or arguing with such persons.
  • Include personal information or data about TLS’s Members, clients, customers, contractors or suppliers without their express consent (an Member may still be liable even if Members, clients, customers, contractors or suppliers are not expressly named in the websites or blogs as long as TLS reasonably believes they are identifiable) – this could constitute a breach of the Data Protection legislation which is a criminal offence.
  • Make any derogatory, offensive, adverse, discriminatory, untrue, negative, critical or defamatory comments about TLS, its Members, clients, customers, contractors or suppliers, or any comments which might reasonably be considered to insult or damage TLS’s or their reputation or character (an Member may still be liable even if TLS, its Members, clients, customers, contractors or suppliers are not expressly named in the websites or blogs as long as TLS reasonably believes they are identifiable).
  • Make any comments about TLS’s Members that could constitute unlawful discrimination, harassment or cyber-bullying contrary to the Equality Act 2010 or post any images or video clips that are discriminatory or which may constitute unlawful harassment or cyber-bullying – Members can be personally liable for their actions under the legislation.
  • Disclose any trade secrets or confidential, proprietary or sensitive information belonging to TLS, its Members, clients, customers, contractors or suppliers or any information which could be used by one or more of TLS’s competitors, for example information about TLS’s work, its products and services, technical developments, deals that it is doing, future business plans and staff morale.
  • Breach copyright or any other proprietary interest belonging to TLS, for example, using someone else’s images or written content without permission or failing to give acknowledgement where permission has been given to reproduce particular work – if Members wish to post images, photographs or videos of their work colleagues or clients, customers, contractors or suppliers on their online profile, they should first obtain the other party’s express permission to do so.

Members must remove any offending content immediately if they are asked to do so by TLS.

Work and business contacts made during the course of employment through social media websites and which are added to personal social networking accounts amount to confidential information belonging to TLS and accordingly TLS may ask for them to be surrendered on termination of employment.

Members should remember that social media websites are a public forum, even if they have set their account privacy settings at a restricted access or “friends only” level, and therefore they should not assume that their entries on any website will remain private or confidential.

Members must also be security conscious when using social media websites and should take appropriate steps to protect themselves from identity theft, for example by setting their privacy settings at a high level and restricting the amount of personal information they give out, such as date and place of birth, schools attended, family names and favourite football team.  This information may form the basis of security questions and/or passwords on other websites, such as online banking.

Should Members observe inaccurate information about TLS on any web sources of information, they should report this to their the Chair in the first instance.

Social media references

Where Members (or ex-Members) have set up personal profiles on business networking websites such as LinkedIn, these websites may include the facility for the user to request their contacts or other users to provide them with open recommendations, endorsements or references which are then published on their personal profile web pages for other contacts or connections, or prospective contacts or connections, to read.  As these could potentially be construed as open references given on behalf of TLS, Members are prohibited from providing these types of recommendations, endorsements or references online to or for the benefit of other Members or ex-Members without the prior permission of their the Chair.

If these types of recommendations, endorsements or references are requested online by clients, customers, contractors, suppliers or other TLS-related business connections, Members should refer such requests to their the Chairs.

Social media monitoring

TLS reserves the right to monitor Members’ use of social media on the internet, both during routine audits of the computer system and in specific cases where a problem relating to excessive or unauthorised use is suspected. The purposes for such monitoring are to:

  • Promote productivity and efficiency.
  • Ensure the security of the system and its effective operation.
  • Ensure there is no unauthorised use of TLS’s time, for example to check that an Member has not been spending an excessive amount of time using social media websites for non-work related activity when they should be working.
  • Ensure that inappropriate, restricted or blocked websites are not being accessed by Members.
  • Ensure that all Members are being treated with respect and dignity when operating as a Celebrant of The Love Society, by discovering and eliminating any material that is capable of amounting to harassment contrary to the Equality Act 2010.
  • Ensure there is no breach of commercial confidentiality.
  • Ensure posting or blogging is not purely for the purpose of profit or gain.
  • Ensure posting or blogging maintains their status as a fit and proper person.

TLS reserves the right to restrict, deny or remove internet access, or access to particular social media websites, to or from any Member.

Contravention of this policy

Failure to comply with any of the requirements of this policy is a disciplinary offence and may result in disciplinary action being taken under TLS’s disciplinary procedure. Depending on the seriousness of the offence, it may amount to gross misconduct and could result in the Member’s summary dismissal.

TLS will process the personal data collected in connection with the operation of the social media policy in accordance with its data protection policy and any internal privacy notices in force at the relevant time. Inappropriate access or disclosure of personal data will constitute a data breach and should be reported immediately to TLS’s Data Protection Officer [The Secretary] in accordance with TLS’s data protection policy. Reported data breaches will be investigated and may lead to sanctions under TLS’s disciplinary procedure. e