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Can Using Social Media Get You Fired?

By Jane Peters on February 20, 2013 |

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Can Using Social Media Get You Fired? You have probably been told to maintain an active social presence to build platforms and stand out in the endless sea of job applicants, but after youmedia buyer OH made the cut because of your social media presence, how do you keep from getting fired from over sharing?

Many people, however, aren’t aware that their personal Facebook page or tweets could land them in hot water. There are plenty of cases of employees getting dumped for using social media out of the office.

The Constitution doesn’t apply to private employers, so employees can’t claim the right to freedom of speech. But all private employers must respect their workers’ right to “protected concerted activity” — in other words, the right to talk among themselves about their working conditions. This right is not limited to union workers. It also applies for all private employees.

There are some recent developments should be aware of.

Employers cannot restrict the freedom employees have to discuss things such as wages, work conditions, and the like at the workplace or on social networks. At the same time, an employee should be mindful of his or her liberties and careful not to overstep those bounds.

Two employees at a sports bar and restaurant complained about the bar’s tax withholding policies on Facebook. (Seriously, that’s a conversation you have on your Facebook wall? Boring.) One of the employees said something obscene about the fact that she now owed back taxes for 2010. The employees were fired for not “being loyal enough.” NLRB is supporting their complaint — that’s a valid criticism of their employer, and protected activity.

What you do on a private computer can be counted as work.  Most employees are not aware that 'in the course of employment' may also include use of a private computer from a location outside of the workplace.

A post that is purely a criticism to make your employer look bad, is not the sort of privilege that is protected by law.  You can then be fired for the post according to a recent review made by the National Labor Relations Board.

Carefully review your employee handbook to be up-to-date on your employer’s policies about social media. As technology becomes a bigger part of our lives expect employee handbooks to address this issue more explicitly as more cases arise.

Technology has changed where work ends and home life starts. But if you spend a lot of time on social media, you might want to review what you're posting or run the risk of getting fired because of a post on Facebook.

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