Does Your Employee Own Your Company’s Social Media Account?

Elliott Stapleton Employment Law

Who owns your company’s social media account? Does it belong to your business or the employee who created the account to promote your business? Absent a social media policy, the answer is not always clear and can result in costly litigation.

Ownership of the account has huge implications regarding who can access the account. If an employer takes over an employee’s social media account without a social media policy indicating the company owns the account, they may be sued by the employee for various privacy and publicity torts, identity theft, conversion, tortious interference with a contract, and various other related legal claims. A social media policy can be used to make sure your company owns your social media accounts, rather than your employees, so that your company is free to use, alter, and dispose of the account regardless of any employee’s control over it. The policy can also obligate your employee to turn over control of the account to your business upon termination.

The ownership provision is just one portion and advantage of a well-drafted social media policy. These policies also govern online conduct, the online use of intellectual property, and help protect your business’s reputation. However, a poorly drafted policy may violate your employees’ rights, so it is important you speak to an attorney about drafting a lawful social media policy customized to your particular business.

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About the Author

Elliott Stapleton

Elliott is a partner in the firm of Cornetet, Meyer, Rush and Stapleton serving clients throughout Ohio. Elliott's business clients range from small single member companies to large privately-held businesses. CMRS Law provides legal services which include advice on Business Formation and Transactions, Real Estate Transactions, Trademark Law, Copyright Law, Estate Planning, Trust Administration, Probate Administration, and Succession Planning. CMRS Law serves clients at two locations: 123 Boggs Lane, 1st Floor, Cincinnati, Ohio 45246 and 2101 Grandin Road, Suite A, Cincinnati, OH 45208