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Panhandle Animal Welfare Society

Employee and Volunteer Policy on Social Media

Panhandle Animal Welfare Society

Employee and Volunteer Policy on Social Media

The purpose of this policy is to help members, understand their roles and responsibilities to the Panhandle Animal Welfare Society (PAWS), and the implementation of communication technology including but not limited to: websites, social networking sites, personal networking sites, blogs and micro blogs, message boards and chat rooms, podcasts and webinars, video sharing sites, texting and instant messaging, etc.

Scope of Policy:


PAWS recognizes that employees and volunteers may engage in communication while on and off duty as appropriate for performance of their duties and/or for the advance of our animal rescue mission. This policy applies to social media content –  written, verbal and

images – on the PAWS social media (Facebook and other media) as well as information you post on your personal site(s), or on someone else's site on the Internet.


Employees and volunteers who engage in blogging or posting should be mindful that their comments, even if done off premises and while off-duty, could have an adverse effect on PAWS' legitimate business interests, animal rescue mission and animal privacy interests. In addition, some readers may view you as a de facto spokesperson for PAWS.


PAWS depends on strong community support and good will. Our reputation is a valuable and important corporate asset. Please consider whether you are potentially damaging our reputation before you post on any site, especially if/when you identify yourselves as an employee or volunteer of PAWS. If you are uncertain, consult the Executive Director before posting online.


To reduce the likelihood that your blogging or posting will have an adverse effect on PAWS and the animals under our care, we require that you observe the following terms of use:


1. Your blogging/posting is subject to all the policies in our Employee Handbook, including "Confidential Matters," "Conflicts of Interests" and "Disciplinary Action, Dismissal and Rules of Conduct" and Volunteer Handbook.


2.  Do not create or share Internet media communication that negatively impacts the PAWS brand or reputation.


3.  Do not discredit, disparage, challenge or defame the mission, services, public policy positions, operational or animal status decisions of PAWS or any animal rescue organizations that have any relation to or interaction with PAWS. Do not reveal any confidential or proprietary information about PAWS.



4.  Do not criticize individual staff or volunteer performance (by name, title or role). Do not disclose the name or any personal identifying information of any staff or volunteer or any animal rescue organizations that have any relation to or interaction with PAWS without his/her permission.


5.  Do not discuss the behavior, history or medical records of animals in our care and custody that are involved in criminal proceedings (per the Employee Handbook.)


6.  Do not discuss the behavior, medical condition, behavioral status, adoption or euthanasia status of animals in our care which could negatively impact the adoptability of that animal or of other animals in our care. Do not "lobby" for specific animals in our care in this public forum without Executive Director approval.


7.  Do not post information that adversely reinforces negative breed-specific stereotypes.


8.  Do obtain permission from the Executive Director prior to posting the PAWS logo, trademark, proprietary graphics, and photographs of the shelter, events, employees, volunteers, staff or animals.


9.  Do create content or forward positive compelling content about animal rescue that builds support for the adoption of animals in our care with permission of the Executive Director. Obtain permission before naming or referencing any animal in our care or before soliciting material or financial support for PAWS.


10.  When commenting on policy issues for which there is no official PAWS position statement, make it clear that you are speaking for yourself and not on behalf of the organization. Write in the first person and do not use your work e-mail account.


11. Support PAWS position statements on issue and public policy/legislation, but do not represent the organization as a spokesperson in the traditional media or online media without permission of the Executive Director.


12.  Do not use social media for internal workplace communications, including but not limited to any disagreements or differences in the workplace.


13.  Do not create or share Internet media communication that violates any local, state, federal or international laws and regulation. This includes uploading, posting or e-mails that: impersonate/misrepresent, infringe on copyright laws, and contain obscene or defamatory content, forward unsolicited/unauthorized (spam, junk mail, chain letters), and knowingly create or transmit software viruses, works or other disabling codes.


14.  This policy pertains to external communication and does not negate nor limit employee protection under PAW’s internal “Open Door” policy.




PAWS will regularly monitor the content of all its social media sites.  PAWS at its sole direction may restrict, block, suspend, terminate or discontinue any employee’s or volunteer’s access to PAWS-sponsored internet media sites at any time, without notices and delete postings.


Policy Administration and Interpretation:


The Executive Director will be responsible for administering and interpreting the guidelines and provisions of this policy.  Any questions regarding the appropriate use of PAWS sponsored social media sites or your personal social media (Facebook, etc.) should be directed to the Executive Director.


By accessing, viewing and/or posting any content related directly or indirectly to PAWS on any internet media site, you accept, without limitation or qualification, the above terms of use. If you do not agree to the terms of this policy, you may not view or post any contact to any Internet media site on behalf of PAWS, as an employee or volunteer of the Panhandle Animal Welfare Society.


This is a mandatory policy for staff and volunteers. Sign-off and compliance is a condition of employment by PAWS and violation will result in disciplinary action up to and including termination.  Volunteer compliance is expected as part of the PAWS Volunteer Agreement.

PAWS seeks to improve animal welfare through programs which educate the public, protect the animals, and provide refuge and medical care to animals in need.

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