202789785 © Raulorfe86 | Dreamstime.com
Tik Tok

HR questions for dentists: Is this a TikTok no-no?

April 12, 2022
This dentist learned about an inappropriate TikTok video shot at his office while he was away. Does he approach the offender or speak to his whole team?
Rebecca Boartfield and Tim Twigg, Human Resources Experts

QUESTION: It was recently brought to my attention that an employee made a TikTok video in uniform, in the office, on a day I was not present. The language in the background music was vulgar, and I am appalled that this was posted.  The employee who brought it to my attention asked not to be identified. My question is how would you recommend I address this issue?  Should I show the employee the video and give her a written warning?  Should I not address it with her directly and make a general announcement that social media is not to be made or shared in the office? Or should I remind everyone about the social media section in our employee manual? 

ANSWER: Now that the employee has crossed a line by wearing her uniform and taking the video at work, she needs to be addressed directly. I recommend bringing her into your office and confronting the issue. Show her the video and state clearly that this is a violation of your policy, and it cannot happen again if she's to remain with the practice. The incident should also include a disciplinary write-up.  

While discussing this with her, be sure you’re clear that it's about posting content while wearing her uniform and doing the video at work. What she does in her private life on social media is more or less her business, but it becomes your issue and a conflict of interest when it's done wearing your company's uniform and using your space. This is not allowed at any time. She needs to keep her personal activities separate from work.   

More HR questions for dentists

Could this ugly argument lead to legal action?
Advertising via car stickers; Paying for. meetings

Since I think you should address this employee directly, I don't feel like you also have to remind your team about anything. But if you want to do so just to cover the bases, you certainly could. Maybe you could do this at your next staff meeting just as a reminder of the rules.   

As for the employee who brought it to your attention, while I think you can keep this secret, I wouldn't promise that in all situations. Sometimes the only way to confront something is to identify the person who brought it to your attention. Therefore, anonymous complaints are not always acceptable. Sometimes employers must tell the person something like, "Thank you for the information, but I cannot agree to keep your name out of this. I will do what I can to protect your name and I will ensure nothing happens as a result of you sharing this information, but I cannot promise your name will be kept confidential. Providing details, including your name, may be the only way to act on this and correct the problem that you’ve brought to my attention."