Wednesday, 20 May 2015

How To Use Social Media Without Losing Your Job

Social media can be a dangerous beast when it comes to your employment status. We all remember the case of Scott McIntyre, the former SBS soccer commentator who was fired after posting some controversial tweets on Anzac Day this year. There was a recent case of Texan woman Kaitlyn Walls who lost her job in a child care centre before she even started after posting on Facebook that she ‘hates working at day cares’ and that she ‘hates being around a lot of kids’. These days, the question has to be asked: how do you use social media and not risk your job? Employment lawyer Glenn Duker has some tips.

Treat social media as though anyone can see it 

Never forget that once something is on the internet it’s on there for good and that anyone could potentially see it. Some employers have been known to look up potential employees on social media to see whether their character is likely to fit the values and culture of the company, so if there’s anything you don’t necessarily want the public to see, either don’t post or upload it in the first place, or set your profile to private. And if you feel like having a rant about work on Facebook, stop and think about what you say and how you say it before you post anything. You just don’t know how it could come back to haunt you, especially if a friend knows someone who knows someone who knows your manager.

Read and abide by your workplace’s social media policy

A lot of workplaces are these days enforcing a social media policy that applies both during and outside of business hours. Businesses have a reputation to maintain, one that can be negatively affected by an employee’s use of social media, so they’ll often have a section in your contract of employment that explicitly addresses this. This is why you’ll typically see the phrase ‘opinions are mine and not those of my employer’ or a variation of it in the Twitter bio section of a media identity’s profile. It protects the organisation and places the responsibility of an account holder’s content solely on the author. Interestingly former SBS employee McIntyre’s Twitter account did not contain such a disclaimer; perhaps things may have played out differently if he had?

If you believe that you may have been unfairly dismissed from your work because of something posted on social media, or you wish to seek advice on other employment law matters, make an appointment with experienced solicitor Glenn Duker today.

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