Social media can be a powerful tool to help improve your chances of landing a job. We’ve all heard the stories of people being fired or doxxed because of what they’ve posted online. But now the conversation has now shifted. Social media is used to connect and network with recruiters, colleagues, and clients. But even with the best intentions, relaying information about your job can still have serious consequences.
If you’re not in a union, your job will generally fall under a more generalized jurisdiction. You can find the outline for your employee rights on your state’s labor board website. This means that if you are in a union, they will have to look for “just cause” to fire you. There are generally 5 things a union will review when assessing a case:
- Do the comments harm the employer’s reputation or product?
- Do the comments prevent the employer from managing a functional and efficient business?
- Does the employee’s behavior prove they are unable to fulfill all duties of their job?
- Does the employee’s behavior affect the performance of other employees?
- Is the employee breaching the employee code of conduct or participating in illegal activity?
Legally, you are allowed to post about your job online. In fact, it can benefit you in a lot of ways. But you do need to proceed with caution when it comes to posting information about your job. Our experts have compiled a list of questions to ask yourself before you post online.
Where are you posting this?
Many professionals use LinkedIn, Twitter, and even Facebook to make professional connections. Because of this, many younger professionals will have a separate and private personal account along with a second professional account. Many employers still check your social media, but it’s not for what you think. Employers who check social media are often looking for how you interact with people, how you promote yourself, and where your creativity shines. Consider how you’re promoting yourself if your professional accounts are lacking. Consider how you interact with others on your personal accounts, even if they are private. How you handle a heated discussion on both a personal and professional level can show employers your ability to communicate.
Are you revealing private information?
For instance, let’s say you post an exciting update about how well your company is doing. A competitor might use this information to snag clients who feel as though your company has outgrown them. To avoid conflict regarding private information, all you need to do is see if your company or employer has shared the information, themselves.
Are your comments harmful?
Most people already know not to post inflammatory comments about their job while still working. However, your job can still legally sue you for posting inflammatory comments and information even years after you’ve stopped working for them. Always ask yourself if it’s necessary for you to post about any of your experiences at a job. If you do believe that your past or present employer is acting harmfully to their clients or employees, file a report with your state’s labor board and talk to an employment lawyer about your options. However, remember that even if the comment is about a client, guest, or customer, your job can still fire or reprimand you.
Remember that harmful comments go beyond posting about your job, employer, co-worker, or clients directly. Harmful comments can also be derogatory towards groups of people. Even if they’re your personal opinions, if they’re harmful to another person or group of people, you could jeopardize harming relationships between collaborators and clients.
Is what you’re posting truthful?
We already know that you probably shouldn’t put anything dishonest on your resume, but you should also avoid doing the same online. This is especially important for the platforms that are used to promote yourself professionally. Posting about various promotions or sales under false pretences can get you and your company in a lot of trouble. If you do want to post something promotional about yourself online, check with your HR department and employee guidelines.
The same can be said about false information you’ve told your job. Let’s say you call in sick, but post a picture of yourself out with friends somewhere. Your job can legally fire you for lying to them.
Are your comments necessary?
It’s easy to get upset and frustrated about your job. Even if your posts have legitimate grievances and complaints that need improvement, you can still lose your job. It can feel like you’ve lost your voice, but you can still share your grievances with your state’s labor board or your company’s union. Filing a complaint with a labor board or union will result in more action that benefits you. Although it’s tempting to share with people online, especially if the complaint has to do with a large or national company that affects multiple workers, it’s best to hold off. In fact, it actually will decrease the likelihood of any actions against the company if you do file a employment class-action lawsuit.
Even if what you’re posting, sharing, or commenting has nothing to do with your job, ask yourself if it’s really necessary for you to share. This is especially true in heated discussions online, or posts that may be a little too much information about yourself.
Social media can be a powerful tool to improve your professional life if handled correctly. If you are in trouble over something you’ve posted online, call one of our Premier Partners who specialize in employment law. They can answer all your questions about what can get you terminated, and the rights you have as an employee.