Chapter 1, Article 9 Social Media Policy
Effective September 4, 2012
Social media helps the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) fulfill its public safety mission through greater communication with the public and stakeholders. It also fulfills CDCR’s mandate in California Code of Regulations Title 15 Section 3260 Public Access to Facilities and Programs. Therefore, CDCR will continue to use this technology and expand on it, as deemed appropriate by management.The Department recognizes the role that social media play in the personal lives of some Department staff. Such personal use of social media can have repercussions on Departmental staff in their official capacity. This policy provides information of a precautionary nature as well as prohibitions on the use of social media by Department personnel while on duty.
• Content within Social Media sites may be searched for and considered when conducting background investigations
• Searches will be done by staff trained and authorized to conduct searches of online content Personnel Investigations
• Social Media sites may be subject to review and may be used as evidence of misconduct in personnel actions
• Search methods and evidence shall be accomplished in accordance with applicable laws, policies, and labor agreements.
12040.9 PERSONAL USE OF SOCIAL MEDIA
Irresponsible or unethical conduct or conduct reflecting discredit on themselves or the department, either on or off duty, shall be avoided by all employees. Barring applicable state and federal law or Memorandum of Understanding to the contrary,
Department personnel shall abide by the following when making personal use of social media:
• Department personnel are free to express themselves as private citizens on social media sites to the degree that their speech does not impair working relationships of this Department for which loyalty and confidentiality are important, impede the performance of duties, impair discipline and harmony among co-workers, or negatively affect the public perception of the Department.
• As public employees, Department personnel are cautioned that speech on- or off-duty, made pursuant to their official duties, that owes its existence to the employee’s professional duties and responsibilities, is not protected speech under the First Amendment and may form the basis for discipline if deemed detrimental to the Department. Department personnel are cautioned that their speech and related activity on social media sites may reflect upon their office and this Department.
• Staff are cautioned that comments which harass, discriminate, or threaten employees may constitute a violation of the CDCR Equal Employment Opportunity/Sexual Harassment
Policy in Department Operations Manual Chapter 3, Article 1 and may result in personnel action by the Department.
• Department personnel shall not post, transmit, or otherwise disseminate any information to which they have access as a result of their CDCR employment without written permission from their hiring authority.
• For safety and security reasons, Department personnel are cautioned not to disclose their employment with this Department nor shall they post information pertaining to any other member of the Department without their permission. As such, Department personnel are cautioned not to do the following:
• Display Department logos, uniforms, or similar identifying items on personal web pages.
• Post personal photographs or provide similar means of personal recognition that may
cause them to be identified as a CDCR employee.
• Staff who work in, or who may reasonably be expected to work in, undercover operations shall not post any form of visual or personal identification which may jeopardize staff safety.
• When using social media, Department personnel should be mindful that their speech
becomes part of the worldwide electronic domain.
• Engaging in prohibited speech or inappropriate disclosure of Department information may provide grounds for undermining or impeaching an officer’s testimony in criminal
• Department personnel should be aware that they may be subject to criminal or civil action for the following:
• Publishing or posting false information that harms the reputation of another person,
group, or organization.
• Publishing or posting private facts and personal information about someone without their permission that has not been previously revealed to the public, is not of legitimate public concern, and would be offensive to a reasonable person.
• Using someone else’s name, likeness, or other personal attributes without that person’s permission for an exploitative purpose.
• Publishing the creative work of another, trademarks, or certain confidential business
information without the permission of the owner.
• Department personnel should be aware that privacy settings and social media sites are
constantly in flux, and they should never assume that personal information posted on such sites is protected.
• Department personnel should expect that any information created, transmitted, downloaded, exchanged, or discussed in a public online forum may be accessed by the Department.
• Department employees must be aware that, regardless of privacy settings, the pictures, videos, and text that are posted online could be made available to individuals for whom it was not intended.
• Any employee becoming aware of or having knowledge of a posting or of any website or
web page in violation of the provision of this policy shall report it immediately in accordance with DOM Article 14.