Social media helps you connect and network with recruiters, colleagues, and clients. But even with the best intentions, relaying information about your job can still have serious legal consequences.
Rules on social media use in the workplace vary from state to state. If you are in a union, the union decides the consequences on your social media use. Generally, most HR departments also go over these variables when assessing an employee’s situation. There are 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, posting about your job can be beneficial. 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 connections. Because of this, many younger professionals will have a separate and private, personal account along plus a 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?
Most jobs will have a code of conduct that outlines what you can or cannot release. These contracts began as a way to prevent employees from making negative or inflammatory comments about their job. This, in turn, would prevent any bad press before the situation can be resolved internally.
Are your comments harmful?
Your employer can legally sue you for posting inflammatory comments and information 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.
Harmful comments go beyond posting bad experiences about your job, employer, co-worker, clients, and 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.
If you do believe that your past or present employer is acting harmfully to their clients or employees, call a lawyer to help you file a complaint and even sue. It’s easy to post about an experience online, but it could hurt your chances of getting real compensation for your suffering.
Also Read: 7 Red Flags You Should Sue Your Bad Employer
Is what you’re posting honest?
You wouldn’t put anything dishonest on your resume, so you should also avoid the same online, especially if you’re self-promoting. If you do want to post promotional content, but are unsure about it, check with your HR department first. However, posting fake promotions or sales will put you and your company in legal trouble.
The same can be said about false information you’ve told your employer. Let’s say you call in sick, but post a picture of yourself out with friends somewhere. Your employer can legally fire you for lying to them.
Also Read: Understanding How Sick Leave Works
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. Before you post something online, ask yourself if you can get in trouble and if that trouble is really worth losing your job.
Other times, your employer does something unethical or illegal, and you need to speak out. It can feel like you’ve completely lost your voice when you’re worried about being fired in this scenario. Whistleblowing laws protect employees who speak out against their bad bosses. But, taking legal action against your employer needs to be done tactfully.