Social Media Law and How it Can Affect You
Social media and technology rule our lives in today’s modern times, but can you really get fired for something you tweet or post on Facebook? Under certain circumstances, the answer is yes. While you may think of social media as an outlet for you to vent and get your workplace frustrations off your chest, it is important you watch what you say – or type. Even if you have enabled the highest privacy settings available, there are ways your employer could see what you’ve written.
Unfortunately, many people have learned the hard way that what you write online can indeed get you fired. While many people bring up 1st Amendment rights in this particular discussion, firing an employee for something negative they say on social media is 100% legal. The 1st Amendment is in place to protect a person from being prosecuted for freedom of speech, but this does not necessarily mean that all outward expressions are free of consequence.
Confusing, she knows. As a Frisco employment lawyer, Attorney Janovsky makes it a point to understand any and all laws pertaining to employees and employers. With the rise in popularity of social media in recent years, she has handled numerous cases involving Twitter, Facebook, and other platforms. These cases are still relatively new to our court system, and there have been varying decisions in regard to the outcome. As a general rule, it is recommended that employees – regardless of the industry – steer clear of lashing out on social media.
When Can an Employee Be Fired for Unprofessional Social Media Posts?
To help clear things up, here is a look at when an employer can legally fire an employee for something they tweet or post on a different social media platform:
- When it is in violation of company policy – This may include lewd comments, racists remarks, and any pictures or posts about illegal drug use.
- When it is in violation of a non-disclosure agreement – If an employee signed a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) and it is discovered they are tweeting or posting the company’s trade secrets or other valuable information, they can be fired.
- When it represents a company negatively – In recent years more and more employees are including social media policies in the employee handbook in order to prevent confusion. One of the reasons for this is to prevent employees from posting comments on social media that shows the company in a negative light. In the event an employee signs a contract that includes a clause about social media and then goes on to make comments online that make the company look bad, he or she can be fired.
Firing an employee for something they say on a social media platform can be both confusing and awkward, for all parties. In order to ensure you are handling the situation appropriately, it is encouraged you contact Frisco employment attorney Janovsky at Janovsky & Associates.