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Is your Social Media use putting your job at risk?

By May 17, 2015November 23rd, 2020Blog
Is your social media use putting your job at risk

Is your Social Media use putting your job at risk?

According to Twitter, users are sending 500 million tweets per day. At the time of publishing, statistics on Facebook show it has 936 million active users per day. So in among all of this noise, is your social media use putting your job at risk?

A Few Examples

Last week in the U.S., Subway terminated an employee in response to a number of Facebook posts regarding the shooting and killing of two police officers.  Her post included posting a picture of herself in her Subway uniform holding a gun.

Earlier this month, an employee of Canada’s most prominent electricity provider lost his job after he harassed a female reporter with sexually explicit comments at a soccer match.  This incident was captured on camera, and the reporter shared the footage on her Twitter account.

Back in February, a teenager in Texas was fired before she even started when she tweeted her disdain for the new job she was supposed to start the next day at a local pizza shop.

Closer to home, SBS sports reporter Scott McIntyre found himself unemployed over a series of ill thought out tweets on Anzac Day this year.

Consider the Consequences

In addition to overuse of emoji’s, all of these examples share a common theme. These individuals did not think that their social media use would have consequences for their employment.

We would all like to think that what we post online on our private accounts is our own business, but more and more cases are emerging where employees are losing their job over their online behaviour.

It does not take long for an individual to be linked back to their employer these days. The spotlight turns to the employer to scrutinise how they respond to it.  In cases where the employee uses a work account or is wearing a company branded uniform, the link is instantaneous.

In an age where a company is one tweet away from worldwide headlines, employers are protecting themselves.  Clauses in employment contracts regarding the protection of company reputation are now standard. Policies that address Code of Conduct and Personal Use of Social Media.  If employers aren’t doing this, they should be.  Small businesses are particularly vulnerable as they rely on local reputation and one employee can bring down their entire business.

Putting your employer under a negative spotlight, even outside of work time, can be a breach of your obligations as an employee and result in termination.  So next time you consider an online rant, consider if it is worth losing your job over. Because the reality is, your social media use may be putting your job at risk.

Carli Saw

Author Carli Saw

Carli is a Human Resources professional with more than 20 years of experience across a range of industries and a passion for supporting small business.

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