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Duke Energy Social Media Policy

Originator: Human Resources
Effective Date: 05-15-2009
Revision Date: 10-25-2012

THIS POLICY IS FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY, AND IS NOT INTENDED TO CREATE A CONTRACT OF EMPLOYMENT BETWEEN AN EMPLOYEE AND DUKE ENERGY. THIS POLICY DOES NOT ALTER THE “AT-WILL” EMPLOYMENT STATUS OF DUKE ENERGY EMPLOYEES. “AT-WILL” EMPLOYMENT MEANS THAT EITHER AN EMPLOYEE OR DUKE ENERGY CAN TERMINATE THE EMPLOYMENT RELATIONSHIP AT ANY TIME, FOR ANY OR NO REASON, WITH OR WITHOUT CAUSE, AND WITH OR WITHOUT NOTICE, SUBJECT TO RESTRICTIONS UNDER ANY APPLICABLE LAW. NOTHING IN THIS POLICY IS INTENDED TO CONFLICT WITH THE TERMS OF ANY APPLICABLE COLLECTIVE BARGAINING AGREEMENT (“CBA”). WHERE A CONFLICT EXISTS, THE TERMS OF THE APPLICABLE CBA SHALL CONTROL.

Applies to Duke Energy employees in the United States

Purpose

Social media tools -- blogs, wikis, social networks, etc. -- are changing the communication landscape and are great ways to learn, find resources, share ideas, gather feedback and test concepts.

With tools like SharePoint and other technologies that can be accessed through the Portal (Duke Energy internal social media tools), Duke Energy has enabled employees to share their thoughts and collaborate online with colleagues at work. These internal tools include news story commenting, customizable, personal profile pages (My Sites), personal blogs, discussion boards and wikis accessed through Duke Energy’s electronic communication systems.  

The Company encourages employees to use Duke Energy internal social media tools constructively: to connect more effectively with their colleagues, educate themselves about the businesses, share their knowledge with others at the Company and get to know coworkers in other locations. The Company also endorses responsible participation in respectful and productive online conversations through external social media tools, such as Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. However, employees are to clearly understand the expectations related to the use of these technologies as a representative of Duke Energy.

Duke Energy affords its employees with the opportunity to exchange ideas, viewpoints and best practices via the Company’s internal social media platforms. This includes commenting functionality enabled on select Portal articles, blogs and online discussions. Duke Energy welcomes all commentary, including criticism, provided the commentary is shared in a constructive and respectful manner and in accordance with this Policy and applicable law. To assist you in making responsible decisions about your use of social media, this Policy sets forth expectations and guidelines.

This Policy will not be construed or applied in a way that interferes with an employee’s rights under the National Labor Relations Act or other applicable laws, including an employee’s right to engage in protected concerted activity while using social media and/or an employee’s right to raise any whistleblower type concern. Duke Energy does not monitor social media sites for the purposes of identifying concerns raised to management. Employees should raise any such concerns to their supervisor, manager, Human Resources Business Partner, or through the anonymous, toll-free EthicsLine operated by a third party.

General Expectations

Discussing or sharing proprietary Company information, trade secrets or nonpublic information related to the current or future performance of the Company is strictly prohibited. Inappropriate and/or unauthorized posting of internal reports, policies, procedures, or other internal business-related confidential communications is also prohibited. Employees should not disclose the personal information of others, including their photograph or likeness, without having first obtained their permission. The posting of false, inaccurate or misleading information regarding Duke Energy and its employees, agents, and contingent workers/contractors is strictly prohibited.

Use of social media tools is subject to copyright and trademark laws. Employees must obtain any necessary permission and properly cite the source when using copyrighted text, photos, graphics, video or other material owned by others.

Questions regarding the application of this Policy or the appropriateness of any material to be posted on social networking sites should be directed to the employee’s supervisor or Human Resources Business Partner. Concerns regarding the use of social media may be reported to a supervisor or other member of management, Human Resources Business Partner, or, as explained in the Open Door Policy, the Ethics and Compliance Office.  Employees may report concerns anonymously through Duke Energy’s EthicsLine, an external, anonymous reporting system that is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year for all employees. Answers to frequently asked questions can be found on the Social Media page of the Duke Energy Portal.

Expectations for Use of Internal Social Media Tools

  • Postings on Duke Energy’s internal social media tools are not anonymous. Participants are identified automatically. Remember that any comments you share via the Company’s social media tools can be seen by all employees and contingent workers, including your teammates. However, the lack of anonymity does not mean that there are no limits on what you post. Your posts should be appropriate for a business setting, and comply with this Policy. Ultimately, you are solely responsible for what you post online.
  • Use good judgment and be courteous, professional and respectful of others at all times when using the Company’s social media tools.   
    • Remember that we want everyone to feel comfortable participating.
    • Make sure you would feel comfortable making the same comment in a face-to-face setting before you post.
    • Recognize that posting comments in all capital letters is likely to be construed as shouting.
    • Consider that sarcasm generally does not translate well online and is subject to misinterpretation.
    • Keep in mind that you are more likely to resolve work-related complaints by speaking directly with your coworkers, supervisor, or Human Resources Business Partner, or by utilitizing our Open Door Policy, rather than by posting complaints to a social media outlet.  
  • Use of Duke Energy internal social media tools is governed by the Code of Business Ethics (CoBE), the Electronic Communications - IT 300 Policy and other applicable Company policies, procedures and guidelines, such as Duke Energy’s Equal Employment Opportunity and Affirmative Action Policy and Harassment-Free Workplace Policy. 
  • Portal photos of employees are highly encouraged and must be business-appropriate (forward facing, head-and-shoulders picture of the employee; no sunglasses, ball caps, kids, etc.). Copyright rules must be followed to ensure publication rights when selecting a photo.
  • Do not use Duke Energy internal social media tools in a manner that interferes with productivity. Duke Energy social media tools are in place to support productivity and effectiveness by allowing and enabling employees to share information and collaborate with colleagues.
  • Do not use Duke Energy internal social media tools to promote businesses where there may be an opportunity for personal or family gain or otherwise create a conflict of interest.
  • Do not use internal social media tools to solicit coworkers in a way that violates Duke Energy’s Solicitation and Distribution Policy.
  • When sharing information through Duke Energy social media tools, employees must comply with the IT Security Policy, Standards and Procedures and follow all regulatory requirements. This includes the FERC Affiliate Restrictions and Standards of Conduct (especially the “No Conduit Rule”) and applicable state codes of conduct. Employees should always review communications to ensure that they are not inappropriately sharing market information or nonpublic transmission system information.

Consequences of Inappropriate Employee Posts

As with other communication tools, the use of Duke Energy internal social media tools is subject to monitoring. The Company reserves the right to remove any content that is deemed to be harassing, bullying, vulgar, discriminatory, offensive, malicious, threatening, intimidating, obscene, intentionally defamatory (about employees, officers, directors, vendors, customers, partners, affiliates or Company products and services) or violates the Code of Business Ethics, or other applicable Company policies and procedures.  Any instances of this behavior will not be tolerated and may subject you to disciplinary action, up to and including termination. Administrators have the right to remove your posts on the Company’s social media platforms if they fall into these categories. A significant number of employee flags via the Report as Inappropriate feature may prompt the Administrator to review a posted comment to determine whether removal of the post is appropriate. In addition, your post may be removed if it is largely irrelevant to the topic of the article, blog, discussion or other form of content.

Expectations for Use of External Social Media Tools

Several of the provisions regarding the use of Duke Energy social media tools also apply to the use of external social media sites. Additional provisions regarding the use of external social media are as follows:  

  • The Company reserves the right to determine what social networking sites will be accessible on Company equipment. Employees with a business need to access a blocked social media site must obtain their supervisor’s approval and upon approval, submit a request to the appropriate IT help desk to access the site.
  • Authorized users of the Company’s electronic communications systems are permitted use of non-blocked external social networking tools during work hours, as needed, if such use does not interfere with Company business or productivity and complies with this policy.

When using external social media to express opinions on an aspect of the Company’s business, it is the employee’s responsibility to make clear that the posting is the employee’s own personal opinion and may not necessarily represent the views of the Company and/or its affiliates. If an employee speaks out on Duke Energy issues (e.g., regulatory proceedings, smart grid, coal mining methods, environmental issues, and electric vehicles) as an individual, the employee should remain respectful and tactful. If responding to criticisms of Duke Energy, it is best to remain factual and professional.

  • It is suggested that the following disclosure or something similar should be placed prominently on the website/blog or other posting in which such content is provided:

“The views expressed on this website/blog are mine and do not necessarily reflect the views of my employer.”

Even with the above disclaimer, blog posts or comments by managers and executives could be misunderstood as stating a Company position on an issue. Managers and executives are expected to exercise a higher level of judgment when expressing personal opinions on social media sites.

  • In addition, employees and contingent workers shall use their personal email address, not their Company email (i.e., duke-energy.com) address, when identifying themselves on any web site/blog or other external social network.
  • Federal Trade Commission guidelines mandate that individuals disclose their affiliation with the Company any time they promote Duke Energy’s products and/or services in any way, including an online recommendation. 
  • Employees shall not create an official looking Duke Energy online group on behalf of the Company or use the Duke Energy logo in an inappropriate manner without appropriate permissions. For more information, see the Brand Standards document on the Portal.
  • Should a team, department or initiative develop a business case for a new social media group, page or profile, before establishing these sites or groups on behalf of the Company, employees and contingent workers must obtain information, training and approval from Corporate Communications.
  • Only authorized spokespersons may make official statements on behalf of Duke Energy. Employees and contingent workers are not authorized to communicate on behalf of the Company with the media or in any other social media forum without express authorization from Corporate Communications. All inquiries received from the mainstream media must be referred to Corporate Communications.
  • If a photo or video was shot on Duke Energy’s premises and was developed solely for Duke Energy internal communications or other Company use, approval from Corporate Communications is required prior to sharing the photo or video with external audiences online.
  • If a discussion is discovered about the Company online that should be addressed, notify Corporate Communications so that the designated online spokesperson can determine if a response is required on behalf of the Company.
  • For more information, refer to the Protecting Company Resources section of the CoBE.
  • Employees are prohibited from providing job recommendations or professional references regarding    Duke Energy employees, former Duke Energy employees and Duke Energy contingent workers on social networking sites.

NOTE: Violation of this policy or any applicable Duke Energy policy or procedure through the improper use of internal or external social media could result in corrective action, up to and including termination of employment.

For more information please visit the Social Media website on the employee Portal.