Commonwealth Bank of Australia is in hot water with labour unions over the imposition of a draconian new social media policy that severely curtails the freedom of expression of employees and their network of friends when corresponding over social sites.
The two-page policy - which was acquired by Australia's Business Spectator in December - says employees cannot "comment on, post or store any information about bank-related matters" or speak negatively about the company in public fora.
It also calls on employees to spy on their friends and report negative comments about the bank to their manager or the media and communications team. In addition, employees should terminate contact with friends who post disparaging comments about the bank on social media sites.
In an open letter to the CBA, the Finance Sector Union says the policy is not only discriminatory but that it also severely restricts employees' freedom of expression.
States the FSU: "We believe it (the policy) seeks to impose unreasonable restraints upon employees' use of social media channels and misrepresents employees' statutory rights and their contractual obligations to their employer."
After initially standing by its policy, the bank has adopted a more conciliatory tone following a stream of negative press comment.
It now says it will meet with the FSU and "will amend the policy, where it is considered reasonable to do so to ensure that all of its staff continue to be treated fairly".