In a recent arbitration decision, the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) was found to have violated its obligation to provide a workplace which was safe and free of harassment by failing to take steps to protect its employees from social media harassment.

The TTC had created a Twitter account to receive and respond to customer service questions and concerns. The union representing TTC employees filed a grievance claiming that the Twitter account had become a public platform for people to abuse and harass employees. In support of its case, the union introduced into evidence hundreds of offensive, discriminatory and abusive tweets.

The arbitrator decided in favour of the union. By not properly addressing the offensive tweets, the TTC had failed to provide a workplace safe and free of harassment. In the course of his decision, the arbitrator specifically noted that the TTC did not have a social media policy and, as part of his remedy, ordered that the TTC develop one.

Local 793 recently developed a social media policy that was passed by the executive board and reviewed by the membership at the September general membership meeting. By taking proactive steps to address the challenges posed by social media, Local 793 is providing confidence to members by setting out rules for the safe use of social media while protecting its members from online harassment and abuse and ensuring the union is in compliance with Ontario law and the union’s constitution and by-laws.

Click here to review Local 793’s Social Media Policy.