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‘Social-media policy not a luxury’ - HR group urges full rollout as DPP fires warning shots

Published:Thursday | January 16, 2020 | 12:31 AMJudana Murphy/Gleaner Writer
Adley Duncan, deputy director of public prosecutions.
Adley Duncan, deputy director of public prosecutions.

The Human Resource Management Association of Jamaica (HRMAJ) is pushing its more than 300 member organisations to implement social media policies for their employees.

The call follows Monday’s internal memo to staff by Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Paula Llewellyn advising that a social-media policy would be developed to guide their use of the platforms.

Her intervention was likely triggered by social-media outrage sparked by a series of controversial posts on Twitter by Deputy DPP Adley Duncan following a butt-naked home burglary. He also made taboo allusions to secretions.

Immediate past president of the HRMAJ, Karl Williams, told The Gleaner that human resource departments are at different levels of maturity as it relates to the introduction of social-media policies.

“We, HRMAJ, are strongly recommending that in this environment, a social-media policy is not a luxury, and it should be implemented no later than 2020,” Williams said.

“When you have a policy, it is no longer a decision being taken on an individual basis, but it is a clear and articulated plan of action about how companies will deal with matters in that space.”

Reputation important

The past president explained that when implemented, new and more seasoned employees would be required to give signatory endorsement to all aspects of the policy.

“The reputation of a company’s brand is one of the major factors in having a social-media policy because by the nature of social media, a brand can go from being a hero to zero in a minute when things go viral,” he said.

Williams said that situations can escalate even faster when employees are wearing company-branded clothing.

The DPP, in her two-page memorandum, did not name Duncan but cited “recent events” which she said would not be “particularised”.

In the memorandum dated January 13, the DPP explained that given the high public office she held, she had made a personal decision not to engage in the social-media space.

“I had hoped that self-regulation, given the fact that we are all professionals, would have been the desirable path chosen by everyone. Alas, for some of us, this has proven to be a difficult path to tread,” the memo read.

While noting that she respected privacy rights, Llewellyn’s advisory stated that the policy to be drafted would be binding on all staff and aimed to protect “the positive image of the ODPP and all team members from any action that may tend to bring this office into disrepute”.

“Once you are on the establishment of the ODPP, you become a public servant. If you are a legal officer, you represent the Director of Public Prosecutions herself and the dignity surrounding that high office,” the memo read.