How social media can get you fired

Pissed off about work and how a client or colleague spoke to you? You’re going to write a long and fiery post, on your social media profile about it, and make your friends and family laugh at your super witty remarks, aren’t you? 

Hold that thought.

In episode 11 of Update, we spoke about how your social media content could get you into a bit of bother with your employers and potentially result in you losing your job. 

Is it legal?

Are employers legally within their rights to fire you because of what you post on social media? The law doesn’t regard social media sites as ‘private places’. No matter where you post your opinion - on your friends timeline, on your own timeline or in a private message, if your boss sees it, you can get in trouble for posting it. 

According to Paula Whelan, an employment partner at Shakespeare’s Law Firm, ‘if an employee writes anything vaguely negative about their employee, including saying something as anodyne as ‘I had a bad day at work’, bosses are well within their legal rights, to sack a staff member’ - Telegraph. 

By posting content carelessly online, you’re not just at risk of losing your job but being rejected from future employers too. Statistics show that one in ten job seekers (aged between 16 and 34) have been rejected for a job because of something posted in their profiles. 

Is it fair?

Now, deciding how fair it is for people to be sacked for their social media posts is a bit more murky and subjective. It really depends on what the employee is posting and where they are posting it.

In the podcast, a case was mentioned were a Bloomberg social media editor lost his job when he sent a private direct message with his friend about his frustrations with work. This friend then shared the message, which resulted in the employee losing his job. See how murky the waters are getting? Yes, he posted negatively about work but it was in a ‘private ‘ message to his friend. We also mentioned a few more examples, ones which were perhaps a little less subjective, for example employees posting “I HATE MY BOSS” or “Is so happy listening to T4F, while pretending to work :)”  

Seeing as three of the four hosts were employees, rather than employers, when discussing this matter before the podcast more often than not we found ourselves siding with the ‘unfairly dismissed’ employees. This was until Andy (our boss) shared his opinion on the matter. He explained after working hard for almost ten years, setting up the business, building relationships with clients and feeling responsible for his staff - he would do anything to protect all of that. So if a employee posted something careless that could result in the loss of a client (and therefore income for the other employees), Andy would have no choice but to protect his business and let the staff member go. 

What do you think?

Get in touch and let us know what you think on the matter.

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