What You Post on Social Media Can Get You Fired
In today’s digital age, privacy has nearly become a thing of the past. You can check in on Facebook, send out tweets to a mass audience on Twitter, and start a hashtag trend on Instagram.
Social Media and Employment LawThese social platforms are often taken for granted, and we always overlook one important detail about what we post: Just who exactly is going to see it? Please keep in mind that if an employer wishes to terminate a contract with you or refuse to hire you due to your protected class (i.e. race, ethnicity, age, gender, political affiliation, and familial status), seek counsel with a professional law firm who specializes in employment law. Due to the various up-and-coming social media platforms, people from all around the world have access to your posts and your general information (i.e. name, hometown, and friends). This includes employers and their employees.
When posting online, people often disclose vast amounts of personal information that you would not usually find outside of their close family and friends - from favorite movies to people's hobbies, and even their political affiliations. It comes as no shock that employers want to use these online diaries to vet potential employees.
Although many see no issue in doing this, there can be drawbacks to the online vetting process:
1. False Identity: How can an employer be sure they are looking at the right candidate if they have never physically seen them?
2. Inaccurate Information: How can the employer judge character through a post? It is easy enough to convey one tone through text, and another thing entirely to convey it in person.
3. Impermissible Subject Matter: Oftentimes there are bits of information that one should not use when deciding on hire an employee (e.g. religion, disability status, sexual orientation, marital states, and genetic information).
Can an Employer Terminate You Based on a Social Media Post?It is important to keep in mind that, while you are allowed to openly discuss the workplace with your employee and with your employer without repercussion, you must tread carefully with what you post on social media. If it is, however, found that you are talking negatively about the company that you work for online, then they have the power to terminate their contract with you. It is considered to be slanderous.
Although the internet is like a digital diary for some, consider who can see your rants and vents on the platforms. If you do feel the need to discuss your workplace, do so with other employees to fall under what is considered as protected concerted activity. If you find that your employer is seeking to fire you for a comment on social media, seek representation immediately.