Financial services staff may soon need to disclose social media profiles

March 6, 2024
Professionals on phones

Partner Susan Thompson comments on the Financial Conduct Authority's (FCA) plans to crack down on non-financial misconduct by requiring disclosure of personal social media profiles.

"The FCA has asked regulated firms in a recent survey to scrutinise activities of their employees beyond their ordinary day-to-day duties. This will include a review of client entertaining outside of usual working hours and even considering how staff socialise with colleagues in their spare time.

"The added scrutiny on employees’ non-financial conduct will lead to an increase of resource time being required from management and HR departments, who may now wish to monitor employees’ social media accounts to ensure that they are demonstrating ‘acceptable’ social behaviour.

"It is common for HR to screen candidates’ social media profiles prior to them being offered employment. However, firms may now need to perform an ongoing review of employees’ social media activity as well, something that firms are unlikely to be currently doing.

"It is likely to become common for employees to be asked to disclose information to employers about their social media profiles. This is to ensure that employees can illustrate acceptable behaviour both in their professional and their private lives. These measures could prove to be quite controversial with employees, who will be unhappy about the added level of scrutiny over their activities.

"The FCA’s survey coincides with legislative changes relating to employers preventing sexual harassment, which are due to come in to force during Autumn 2024. Employers will be required to take ‘reasonable steps’ to prevent sexual harassment occurring or otherwise face the possibility of claimants claiming a 25% uplift to any compensation they are seeking via the employment tribunal."

Susan's comments were published in City A.M., 5 March 2024.

Susan ThompsonSusan Thompson
Susan Thompson
Susan Thompson

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