How do you handle an employee who posted a potentially threatening comment on a social media site?

By Penny Morey

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

The comment was about another employee and made via a cell phone. We don't have a policy in place or an HR department. I recently gave the employee a raise before this all took place. Our office is very lax.
Here is my advice: Put a policy into effect on all of these types of issues and FAST.

- Personal Use of Cell Phones
- Computers, and PDAs At Work
- Video or Audio Recording Devices
- Use of Organization E-Mail/Instant Messaging/Internet
- Acceptable Use for Organization-Owned Computer Equipment

Ignoring such matters will only result in more problems of an even more serious nature and sooner versus later. You are running the risk of the potentially threatened employee seeking redress for a hostile work environment. Why go there? It is totally unnecessary. Employees are supposed to help the company, not hinder it.

Regarding the employee who posted a potentially threatening comment about another employee--do not hesitate to call him in and tell him in no uncertain terms that such behavior is unprofessional and will NOT be tolerated.

The company cannot and will not allow any employee to act inappropriately toward another . . . EVER. Tell the employee that he is making you regret the great review and raise you gave to him by acting in such a childish manner.

Let him know that cell phones at work are to be used only on unpaid time (e.g., lunch breaks) or for legitimate emergencies (sick child).

From the policy I provide to my clients:
"Personal calls, personal instant messaging, personal text messaging or twittering during the work day--regardless of whether the equipment used is organization-provided or not--interferes with employee productivity and is distracting to others. Employees are at work essentially to provide value to the organization. They are expected to limit personal interactions during work time and make personal calls and/or send personal text messages, twitter or IM messages on non-work time and to ensure that friends and family members are aware of this organization policy."

Penny is a seasoned human resources executive and consultant with over 25 years of diverse business experience in advising enterprise leaders on employment-related matters.

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