Commonwealth Bank of Australia has bowed to pressure from staff and unions and amended the 'heavy-handed' elements of its unpopular social media policy.
The two-page policy document caused uproar among bank staff when it was published late last year. Under the policy, employees were prohibited from making references to the bank on social media sites and were required to report on negative comments made by their networks of friends and acquaintances.
Finance Sector Union national secretary Leon Carter, says the bank's decision to revise the policy "goes to show that even the largest employers can be made to rethink their decisions".
CBA's policy now reflects workers' rights to organise and engage with their union colleagues online, he points out, and the bank's employees can no longer be held accountable for the actions of others. It still asks staff to report any adverse commentary about CBA that they come across online, but the punitive measures for failing to do so have been removed from the updated guidance.
"The original position was unfair as well as unrealistic, and the bank has done the right thing updating the policy to reflect the reality of social media. It's a burgeoning media that provides opportunities for people to engage in a wide range of discussions. It is not designed for the regulation of activity or opinion." says Carter.
The union still urges its members to exercise caution online, despite the policy amendment.
"It's important to remember at all times that everything you post online should be considered to be in the public realm. Be aware that others, often your employer or even potential employers are watching. If you wouldn't say it out loud, don't say it online," says Carter.