Technology & HR Law in Pharmacy Workplaces

Episode 18

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On this episode of the Pharmacy View podcast, Scott talks with Sarah Stoddart of Vitality Law, who practices commercial and employment law with a focus in the healthcare industry.

Scott and Sarah focus today on Technology and HR law. Sarah talks about the issues companies face when using their social media platforms to post staff/customer images and the issues of privacy and consent surrounding that practice, as well as how to go about obtaining the appropriate consent. She also cautions individual Pharmacists who are part of a franchise or “banner brand” to look into the logistics of whether or not they are even allowed to use social media under the name of the parent company without express permission.

Scott and Sarah also discuss the issues that employees face in regards to their own personal social media accounts and how their employment can be affected if they post things on their personal accounts that do not represent what their workplace stands for. Sarah explains how Pharmacies can benefit from reviewing their standard policies and procedures and implementing those as part of the employment agreement to make sure they have clearly defined workplace standards.

Scott and Sarah briefly touch on the importance of Pharmacies establishing their phone and internet usage policies in the workplace, then wrap up by discussing the importance of confidentiality in the healthcare industry and how sometimes data or information might inadvertently be shared, thereby breaking confidentiality. Sarah ends by offering a reminder that a Pharmacy is a regulated health services and there are laws around regulating advertising for these types of services including the promotion on social media of Customer referrals where the product or service being referred may have advertising restrictions.

Topics Covered:

  • Issues of consent and privacy that pharmacies may face when posting images on their social media accounts
  • Issues employees can face when having their personal social media accounts affiliated with their workplace
  • Incorporating workplace policies into the employment agreement
  • Internet usage and phone use policies in the workplace
  • Confidentiality in the workplace
  • Exercising caution around advertising for regulated health services

Key Quotes:

  • “Employees have to be really careful because they put on their page where they work so automatically there’s a link to their workplace. If they are going to engage in conduct outside of the workplace that might not be representative of their employers’ business or is conduct that the employer wouldn’t permit, that can actually have an impact on their employment.” (9:33)
  • “The workplace extends beyond the 4 walls of the pharmacy, and if you’re going to be putting things on social media that would not properly reflect on the employer or damage the employer’s reputation, you really need to have no links to your employer.” (10:51)

  • “I would encourage pharmacy owners to have a look at their suite of policies and procedures, decide how important they are to the employment relationship, and if they are really important, consider making those policies and procedures a term of the employment agreement.” (14:00)

  • “Social media is…moving faster than the law can keep up with, but it’s not until something goes wrong in one way shape or form that I guess it’s challenged or tested.” (15:01)
  • “Confidentiality and privacy is a massive area, and something you really need to think twice about before doing anything, really, and making sure you’ve got procedures…perhaps where your computers automatically lock out after an inactive period, or really training your staff on making sure things are closed down and making sure all these screens aren’t seen by customers to prevent those breaches occurring.” (20:58)
  • “A pharmacy is a regulated health service, and there are laws around what you can advertise.” (23:03)

Social Media Clips:

  • Issues surrounding privacy/consent with social media posts (3:08-3:49)
  • Ensuring that you have the permissions to be on social media (3:53-4:41)
  • The link between employee and employer on social media (9:04-10:35)
  • Including policies in the employment agreement (14:00-14:38)
  • Importance of confidentiality in healthcare workplaces (18:24-19:25), (20:58-21:28)
  • Exercising caution regarding advertising around a health service (23:03-23:29)

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Connect with Sarah

Vitality Law Australia

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