Western Australia Health Policy on Use of Social Media

If I was a Western Australian health employee and criticised this policy in a private email – even if I offered suggestions to improve it – I’d be in breach and put my employment at risk.

I think that sums up what a crock of a policy this is. It exists to prevent employees saying anything negative about WA Health not only on social media, but also on emails. I can only assume that an amendment will be released trying to ban spouses talking to each other if they are going to mention the Western Australian Health Department.

For what it is worth, here it is:


The purpose of this policy is to ensure that employees do not engage in online communication that is disparaging and/or discriminatory towards the WA Health and/or colleagues. Communication may include, but is not limited to emails, blogging and posts via social media sites such as Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, YouTube and Flickr.

Disparaging communication includes negative, adverse, inappropriate, offensive, discriminatory and abusive blogs/posts that criticises WA Health and/or colleagues in a public way.

The use of online communication via social media to post or blog disparaging comments about WA Health and/or colleagues is a breach of an employee’s duty of fidelity and good faith which will result in disciplinary action and in some cases termination of employment.


This policy applies to all staff within WA Health entities including:

• Department of Health
• Metropolitan Health Service
• WA Country Health Service


This policy covers all online communication via social media sites made by an employee, whether during work hours on a work computer, or during work hours on a personal electronic device, or outside work hours on a personal electronic device. Online communication via social media sites that is prohibited includes, but is not limited to, communication that:

• Mentions the WA Health by name, its business operations or confidential information;
• Is defamatory;
• May be construed as discriminatory or bullying;
• Bullies, harasses, discriminates or vilifies work colleagues;
• Includes abusive status updates and/or blogs that criticise work colleagues, offends others
and/or breaches their employment obligations in public ways; and
• Publicises or comments on workplace disputes.

View the WA Health Social Media Policy on the website or download.

If you have seen a social media policy from any organisation in the Australian health field please let me know

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Robbo is a pharmacist working with a very remote Aboriginal Health Service in the deserts of Western Australia. + Andrew Robbo Roberts

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