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Peers Share Tales of Cyber-Bullying and Revenge Porn in the Workplace

Peer-2-Peer sessions bring together like-minded security professionals into small groups to discuss topics important to them. Larry Dietz, general counsel and managing director of information security at TAL Global, facilitated a P2P discussion about cyber-bullying and revenge porn. In this post, Dietz continues the conversation.Workplace environment affects morale

The Cyber Bullying and Revenge Porn in the Workplace session was attended by about 15 people who were security practitioners. One or two may have been in junior management roles. Due to the sensitive nature of the topic participants did not provide a lot of information about themselves.

Attendees were interested in what were the duties and responsibilities of employers. We discussed that employers are responsible for insuring that workplaces are free from discrimination and harassment. We noted that employers who became aware of either discrimination or harassment were bound to take reasonable steps to mitigate these negative acts.

We talked about the need for clear polices which would be acknowledged by employees and which clearly spelled out do’s and don’ts with respect to social media. We felt that examples, both good and bad would be helpful in explaining the policies. 

Attendees were surprised to learn that employers can be responsible for discriminatory or harassing acts outside the workplace. For example, an employee using his or her personal Facebook page to harass other employees has an impact on the work environment whether or not those pages are viewed while at work. The key takeaway from this session was the understanding that employee actions outside the work place (such as in Social Media) does impact the workplace. 

We noted that the classes against whom discrimination is prohibited is constantly increasing, with the most recent being transgender employees.

We learned the key elements of the California Revenge Porn Law, which apply to any person who:

  • intentionally distributes the image of the intimate body part or parts of another identifiable person,
  • under circumstances in which the persons agree or
  • understand that the image shall remain private
  • the person distributing the image knows or should know that distribution of the image will cause serious emotional distress
  • and the person depicted suffers that distress.
  • A person intentionally distributes an image described in above when he or she personally distributes the image, or arranges, specifically requests, or intentionally causes another person to distribute that image.

Employers must be constantly vigilant to insure that they understand the virtual as well as physical office environments. Employers need to be aware of the factors contributing to the work environment.

After this discussion, it's important to think about how to make the workplace a safer place for everyone. Below are some of the recommendations that emerged as a result of the discussion:

  • Develop clear and comprehensive policies and procedures
  • Insure that policies are enforced impartially and that employees are aware of enforcement actions within the appropriate boundaries of employee privacy.
  • Provide employees with Training & Certification
  • Company policies & philosophy
  • Laws and regulations

If organizations want to enforce a discrimination and harassment free culture, they should consider making the employee’s performance along these lines part of their annual performance reviews.

Posted on June 19, 2015

RSAC Contributor

by RSAC Contributor

RSA Conference

Conference:
USA 2015

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