VIC Disciplinary Action Over Facebook Post?

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urbancowgirl

Member
17 August 2018
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I posted a comment on my Facebook page the other day having a quick whinge after a crappy incident at work. My FB setting are incredibly tight & private, I do not have my employers company associated with my profile in anyway (ie: listed as my employer)

I did not use the name of the person I had a whinge about. My name on my Facebook profile is different to the name I'm employed under and I don't have any photos of me as my profile or wallpaper pics. Yet my next day at work I was being questioned over it.

I access the work's server from my home pc to do my work from home, but I did not post or access my facebook using the work server, only my personal desktop. I have accessed FB from the work server in the past. Is it possible they could have bypassed security measures and accessed my facebook? Do I have a right to know how they obtained the details of my private facebook page?

Can I be disciplined over this incident If there is no association between me and my employer on Facebook & no identifiers used?

Thanks
 

Rod

Lawyer
LawTap Verified
27 May 2014
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Is it possible they could have bypassed security measures and accessed my facebook?

Technically it is possible.

Do I have a right to know how they obtained the details of my private facebook page?

No. At least not until court action is undertaken then you can use the courts to discover how the access was made.

Can I be disciplined over this incident If there is no association between me and my employer on facebook & no identifiers used?

Yes. But the proper question is 'would the discipline be legitimate'? The answer, based on your post, would be no. Some employers are going too far trying to control what people say outside of a work context. Looks like you understand where the restrictions are and have likely avoided cross the line. They however may well be crossing their boundaries and if they have accessed your FB account they are breaking the law.

If you are using the work server for accessing private accounts chances are there is a work policy saying this is not allowed. As a precautionary measure it may to also be wise to change your FB password. If they ask you a question, like is 'jane smith' your FB account?, refuse to answer until they layout their real issue. Can be hard to pull off but is doable. Possibly ask to have a support person/witness with you as well.

The most likely way your employer knows though is not through hacking, but because one of your 'friends' passed on details. Could be a fake friend, or a real friend you have annoyed.

If questioned again, I'd respond by saying my private life is my own and the questions they are asking are improper. If they have specific information, then they must show me the detail so I can properly respond. After all, they could have fake/misleading information.
 
Last edited:

Adam1user

Well-Known Member
5 January 2018
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I like to add to Rod's comment:

When you go out and talk about an incident to people in a gathering, this could be explained as blowing off steam and it will end there, (limited number of people and no record kept), but remember when you post on the net (either FB or other means), although you think you have control over it, you don't as there are measures that don't control that or errors that happen which may make it public and it is social media, so what you post is there indefinably and read by millions, if the employer gets hold of that, you will be held responsible.

So my opinion is to think 10 times before posting, this is just common sense. But once you enter the courts, it is a time consuming and expensive to prove otherwise. I maybe wrong, but will that be worth it? better to be safe than sorry!
 

Tim W

Lawyer
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28 April 2014
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....If there is no association between me and my employer....
But, there is.

You said above that you were venting after an incident at work.
If I was your employer's lawyer, I'd be arguing that anybody who knew you
would know where you worked, and would know that you were referring to that particular employer. E
Even if you didn't use the employer's (business) name.
 

Adam1user

Well-Known Member
5 January 2018
572
32
2,219
I like to add to Rod's comment:

When you go out and talk about an incident to people in a gathering, this could be explained as blowing off steam and it will end there, (limited number of people and no record kept), but remember when you post on the net (either FB or other means), although you think you have control over it, you don't as there are measures that don't control that or errors that happen which may make it public and it is social media, so what you post is there indefinably and read by millions, if the employer gets hold of that, you will be held responsible.

So my opinion is to think 10 times before posting, this is just common sense. But once you enter the courts, it is a time consuming and expensive to prove otherwise. I maybe wrong, but will that be worth it? better to be safe than sorry!
I used the wrong word: it should be " indefinitely" not "indenfinably" - just fast typing.