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Employer Watching Employee Facebook?

Discussion in 'Employment Law Forum' started by Bethany, 1 September 2014.

  1. Bethany

    Bethany Member

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    Hi is an employer allowed under employment law to watch an employees' Facebook without being friends with them on it. And are they allowed to bust you for writing things. I recently felt mistreated, disrespected and untrustworthy in my work place and wrote as my status about how I felt and I was mad etc. but didn't mention company name or people's names and my big boss sent me a letter and I have to have a meeting and stuff. Am getting busted for writing on my own Facebook Page how I feel. Is this allowed and do I have to talk to them about my status? This is urgent my meeting is in 2 days.
     
  2. Sarah J

    Sarah J Well-Known Member

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    Hi Bethany,

    In general, employers are allowed to look at Facebook and other forms of social media in order to ensure that their employees are not representing them in a negative light, amongst other reasons. Employers may also have a legal responsibility over what their employees publish/say/do online and may be liable in some cases.

    Your workplace should have a social media policy. If so, read this. It may be the case that your employer is just concerned about what you wrote and wish to enquire further about how you're fitting in in the workplace.

    I would suggest, in future, to make your posts private from non-friends and followers.
     
  3. Bethany

    Bethany Member

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    I have made my profile private and blocked any one on Facebook I could find that works with me. I feel it is violation of my privacy. And I've been working there 3 years. Faithfully even do after hour work Wich I don't get paid for well I get paid a little for fuel that's it. When they bring it up am I allowed to say I refuse to talk about my Facebook becuz it's mine and to do with my outside of work life. ? Basically Cuz I never mentioned names I feel I shouldn't be in trouble.. I had asked for a meeting with my boss in regards to how I had been feeling at work and never got it. I had to post something on Facebook to be noticed...
     
  4. AnnaLJ

    AnnaLJ Well-Known Member

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    Hi Bethany

    I agree with Sarah J that the first place to start here would be to see if your company has a social media policy, or if your employment contract contains any terms relating to social media.

    While an employer cannot monitor your emails or internet usage at work without notifying you (there is legislation in each state protecting your right not to be under surveillance in the workplace without your knowledge), there is unfortunately nothing stopping them from monitoring information you post on a public forum. Even if you don't mention the company name, you are likely still traceable back to your employer by anyone in your friends list who knows where you work.

    Also, as rightly mentioned by Sarah J, your employer would be concerned over its liability if things you are written could be construed as being written on behalf of the company or attributed to the company. I think you've made the right decision in making your profile private and blocking any of your work colleagues.

    Unfortunately with the public nature of social media these days, it's better to be safe than sorry to and to avoid making any negative references at all to your employment or employer.

    Best of luck for your meeting.
     
    John R likes this.
  5. Tim W

    Tim W Lawyer

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    1. If you put it out there in public,
      where anyone, including your employer can see it,
      then you do so at your own risk.

    2. As an employee, you do have a duty towards your employer,
      which (to greatly over-simplify) includes
      not making public comment that could damage the employer.
      Yes, even a vent on Facebook falls within that.
      It is pretty much irrelevant that you may be
      at home/ off-duty/ using your private phone etc.

    3. You do not have the kind of right to free speech that you may think you have.

    4. Take a support person with you to the meeting.
      Ideally, take somebody from your Union.
     
  6. Owens Lawyers

    Owens Lawyers Well-Known Member

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    To add to what has already been posted above, if you are dismissed get legal advice as soon as possible as you only have 21 days to make an unfair dismissal claim.
     
    Tim W and John R like this.

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