Social Media and company contacts post-termination. Part 3/3

03 Jul

Our earlier blogs covered social media in relation to recruitment and staff conduct. This final blog will look at how to put measures in place to protect the business when key employees leave.         

Social media is continuing to expand. Current estimates are Facebook 1 billion, LinkedIn 187 million and Twitter 75 million users worldwide. This creates a wealth of opportunities and dangers for employers.


-          Employer actively encourages employees to use social media platforms to attract customers and to be visible to current and prospective clients.

-          A key staff member resigns, having accumulated a large number of LinkedIn contacts during their employment.

-          Employer has concerns that business contacts may follow the employee and give business to their new employer who is a competitor.

What can be done?

Adding business contacts to social networking accounts like LinkedIn can be of benefit to the employer whilst the employee is employed. However this can pose a danger when the employee leaves as it is easy to take contact lists when they depart.

If there are no relevant post-termination restrictive covenants in the employee’s contract and no suitable social media policy, then effectively, nothing can be done. You are exposed.

How to protect the interests of the business?

Have a social media policy which states something to the effect that:

‘Details of business contacts made during the course of employment are the company’s confidential information.  On termination of employment, the employee must provide the company with a copy of such information, delete all such information from their personal social networking accounts and destroy any further copies of such information that they may have’.

-          Require employees to replicate contact lists on the employer's own databases

-          Ensure that a designated person/department is given responsibility of this task for all leavers.

Have post termination restrictive covenants in the employment contract relating to:

-          Confidential information

-          Ownership of business contacts

-          Non-solicitation