Bank of Maharashtra’s social-media policy challenged in court by staff

BoM had issued guidelines prohibiting its employees and stakeholders from even mentioning the Bank in their postings on social media, without permission from BoM

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A notice has been issued to Bank of Mahrashtra by the Bombay high court seeking a response to a petition challenging the Bank’s guidelines regarding use of social media by its staff.

With the aim of regulating the use of social media by its existing and retired staff, the public-sector bank had issued guidelines to its existing and retired employees, customers, stakeholders and the general public. The guidelines require everyone to seek the Bank’s permission before posting comments or even writing blogs where the Bank or its offerings / services are mentioned. The guidelines apply to Facebook, Wikipedia, Twitter, Instagram and all other forms of social media. It also covers comments by employees, responses to tweets and even posts on various forums or message boards.
Employees have been prohibited from posting remarks or views on Internet sites or social media, which may defame or criticise the Bank, its staff, management, policies or processes in any way.

A petition has been filed by the All India Bank of Maharashtra Employees’ Federation to quash these guidelines saying that it goes against the right to freedom of speech of government employees.

The petitioners point out that the guidelines are ambiguous and the policy does not clarify what the prohibitions are.

A hearing is scheduled for May 3, where the Bank is expected to respond to the notification.

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