In the last few years, social media has continued to grow in popularity – from Facebook to Twitter to Snapchat and everything in between. When it comes to personal social media accounts and your job, is there anything you should know? The answer is: of course!
Barely a day goes by when someone – quite often someone in the public eye – gets into trouble with their employer for posting something racist, homophobic, sexist or simply inappropriate, tasteless and silly on social media. Often, they are sacked.
Social media and the workplace
In short, your employer has a legal right to discipline you in many cases. For instance, employers can find themselves liable for what staff say about customers, whether it was said at work or not.
Social media may be the ultimate platform for free expression, but the platforms are still public enough for laws like defamation to apply. And especially if you’re venting about something like work or the boss, in many cases your employer has the right to act.
Check your work’s social media policies
If your employer has a clear social media policy, then you need to abide by your contractual terms. This may not only limit when you can access social media from and where, but also the contents of what you say or do online. For instance, a public servant in Australia was fired simply for Googling the word ‘knockers’ from a government-owned mobile.
The government, in particular, is now using monitoring technology to report on online employee activity. Invasion of privacy, or an employer’s right to ensure that laws are being followed and work is being done by staff? The internet is increasingly blurring the lines on many topics, and comments made on social media is just one of them.
Here’s some things to remember:
- Disclaimers: It may not be enough to mark a social media post as a “personal view”.
- Privacy settings: Ensure your more controversial posts are being shared only with your friends.
- Private and personal: If you are going to use social media, use your own device and your private accounts.