Social Media Policy
Social Media and its uses in government and daily life are expanding each year. However, information posted on a website or social media platform is often generally available to the public and remains public for an extended period of time. As a result, employees, volunteers, and elected or appointed public officials of the Village of Ridgewood must adhere to the following guidelines for their participation in social media. For the purposes of this policy, "social media" is understood to be content created or shared by individuals using applications and/or accessible, expandable, and upgradable publishing technologies through and/or on the Internet.
- Only employees directly authorized by the Village Manager to do so may engage in social media activity during work time using the Village of Ridgewood's Communication Media, as it relates to their work and in compliance with this policy.
- All employees, volunteers, public officials, including those holding elected or appointed positions within the Village or who are otherwise associated with the Village in any official capacity shall be subject to this Social Media Policy.
- No internal working documents of the Village may be posted to social media sites without the express written prior permission of the Village Manager. This includes, but is not limited to, screenshots of computer stations, pictures of monitors and/or actual documents themselves.
- Individuals shall not access social media pages during working time or by using Village internet services except as required by their job or position.
- Individuals who maintain personal web pages and websites, including but not limited to Facebook, YouTube, Myspace, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, etc., shall not post information on such sites that would constitute a violation of the Village's personnel policies as defined in the Village of Ridgewood Human Resources Manual.
- The posting of words, phrases, photographs, images or any kind of information on a personal website may be grounds for the imposition of discipline and/or other corrective action/sanctions, including but not limited to termination of employment, loss of position, expulsion and/or censure if the words, phrases, photographs, images or information adversely reflect upon the individual's fitness for duty/service or constitutes a violation of the personnel policies of the Village as defined in the Village of Ridgewood Human Resources Manual.
- Anything posted on a social media website that would result in discipline or violation of Village policy if said in public or while at work shall result in discipline/corrective action.
Guidelines for Use of Social Media Sites
- Do not post anything that is confidential.
- Do not post anything that would result in discipline if said directly to your supervisor or another employee of the Village.
- Do not post anything that could result in a complaint of harassment or discrimination under Village policy as defined in the Village of Ridgewood Human Resources Manual.
- Do not speak on behalf of the Village unless you are authorized to do so.
- Do not make comments as a Village of Ridgewood employee, volunteer or representative that may be deemed to have come from the Village. In this regard, you are required to ensure that comments are deemed to be personal opinions and not opinions of the Village of Ridgewood.
- Do not conduct Village business through social media unless your job/position requires such use.
- Do not discuss the work performance of a Village employee, volunteer, vendor or other Village personnel by way of social media.
- Do not use abusive, profane, offensive or threatening language.
- Do not post information that may tend to compromise the safety or security of the public or public systems.
- Do not post private contact information, such as names, addresses and phone numbers without prior approval, no matter how easily obtained elsewhere.
- Do not encourage illegal conduct.
Individuals who choose to identify themselves as a Village of Ridgewood employee, volunteer, official, officeholder or other representative on their individual personal social media accounts, should be aware that they may be viewed as acting on behalf of the Village. As a result, no one covered by this policy may knowingly represent themselves as a spokesperson of the Village; post any comment, text, photo, audio, video, or other multimedia file that negatively reflects upon the Village; express views that are detrimental to the Village's mission or undermine the public trust or is insulting or offensive to other individuals or to the public regarding religion, sex, race, or national origin. Such persons should also exercise extreme caution in posting photographs of themselves in uniform or in situations where they can be readily identified as Village employees or representatives.
Communications on individual personal social media pages in which matters related to the Village of Ridgewood are discussed, individuals covered by this policy must add a disclaimer on the front page stating that the posting does not express the views of the Village of Ridgewood and that they are expressing their own personal views. For example: "The views expressed on this website/weblog are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of my employer." or "The views expressed on this website/weblog are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Village of Ridgewood." The disclaimer must be placed in a prominent position and repeated for each posting that expresses an opinion related to the Village of Ridgewood or the Village's business, except for postings and social media communications by employees engaging in protected concerted activities. Please be advised, however, that the inclusion of a disclaimer will not shield an individual from disciplinary/corrective action or liability if they post information on social media in violation of the terms and conditions of this social media policy or in violation of federal, state, or local laws.
Elected officials particularly may be tagged or brought in on electronic communication on their different sites or addresses. In such instances, it is understood that public service requires responses to residents' or constituents' concerns that may be on the site on which the communication was initiated. As a result, public officials may communicate on the site or service on which contact was initiated. In all other instances, public officials should take care to disseminate information related to the Village business on official Village social media accounts when the public official initiates the communication. It is understood that the structure of certain social media platforms and the formatting for page creation results in all pages being categorized as "personal".
Nothing in these policies is designed to interfere with, restrain, or prevent social media communications by employees engaging in protected concerted activities regarding wages, hours, or other terms and conditions of employment pursuant to the National Labor Relations Act. All Village employees have the right to engage in or refrain from such activities. To the extent that Village employees use social media outside their employment while engaging in protected concerted activities under the law, employees will not be subject to discipline or retaliation for expressing views, opinions, and/or facts surrounding the Village's employment policies.
This Social Media Policy shall be posted on the Village website.