Can Social Media Get You Fired?

Social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Blogger, LinkedIn and many others have become increasingly popular not only for social purposes, but also as tools to assist in job searching and networking.

Studies have shown a rising trend also amongst businesses to make use of the multitude of available social sites, including using these sites for background checks and screening of possible and existing employees.

Many recruitment agencies also include social media screening as part of their background checks of potential employees.

The South African approach to the use of social media in labour situations is still developing, with limited guidance by our courts to use as a reference.

It has also become a common practice to use information on social media sites, including status updates or twitter, feeds, as evidence in support of legal cases.

It is therefore more and more apparent that managing your online presence and what you post on social media sites is of vital importance, and that a casual approach to online ‘socializing’ could have serious consequences for an employee.

These guidelines can help in identifying posts that could pose a danger to you:

• Negative, insulting, inaccurate or inappropriate statements pertaining to your boss, your colleagues, your company, your products, your suppliers or customers, or even your competitors may very well get you fired.

• Posting or being tagged in inappropriate pictures or posting remarks that conflict with the company’s vision, mission and values, may have a negative influence on your company’s image and is also best avoided.

• Posting status updates or photos whilst being on sick leave or posting pictures of attending non-work related social events during working hours.

• Posting confidential information that relates to your job or company or clients could jeopardize the company and its clients and should also be avoided at all times.

As an employee, the following should be kept in mind when managing your social profiles:

As an employee, the following should be kept in mind when managing your social profiles:

• Be familiar with the company’s social media policy.

• Check your privacy settings. Most social media sites have ways to control who can view your profile and who cannot. Take care in considering who you grant access to your profile and its content.

• Monitor your personal profiles regularly, checking for pictures or posts that do not comply with your company’s policies.

• Whether you are a junior employee or a member of management, the same rules apply – you represent the company and even your conduct on social media sites can hurt and impact the name and brand recognition of the company.

BB Attorneys

For all your legal advice and assistance to help develop appropriate social media usage policies that regulate the acceptable use by your employees of social media contact us today.

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