Do blogs put your facility at risk?
Blogs have emerged as a popular vehicle to promote facility programs and achievements. However, blogs can backfire, leaving your facility at risk for liability. Consider these scenarios:
Scenario 1: Your facility hosts a web site or password-protected intranet site describing your facilities, programs, and schedules. The site contains a blog that permits clients to communicate about various topics. Let’s say a client doesn’t like something another client writes, and denigrates or threatens that client. Is your facility responsible for monitoring the blog and responding to posts the administration deems inappropriate?
Scenario 2: Your facility administration discovers that clients have posted inappropriate messages or videos (that may or may not mention the name of the facility) on a non-managed blog site. Can you suspend the clients or force them to remove the offending message?
Scenario 3: A staff member posts pictures of clients participating in competitions on her personal web site. Although your facility may have received written permission from parents to post pictures of clients, does this permission extend to staff on personal web sites? Probably not. Can you discipline a staff member for posting the pictures or messages?
If you have any questions about blog liability, speak with your facility’s attorney. Because blogs are new to the legal scene, current state and federal laws leave a lot to interpretation. Insurance companies are working to clarify policy language regarding what is covered under electronic communications, so you may want to discuss blogs with your insurance agent, too.
Here are some guidelines to reduce your liability risk:
The information provided in this article is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be considered as all encompassing, or suitable for all situations, conditions, and environments. Please contact us or your attorney if you have any questions.