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Keeping Your Interests Ahead of Your Employer's

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Potential posting problems: social media and wrongful termination

It is difficult to underestimate the role that Facebook has come to play in American life.

It has radically changed how millions of people interact with each other. And this includes the way many people interact at work.

In this post, we will discuss some of the ways that Facebook and other social-media use can play a role in wrongful termination cases.

In one recent case, an employer fired an employee for supposedly spending more than 60 percent of their work time on social-media websites for personal reasons.

Oddly enough, however, the operator of the business used Facebook himself to post about the case. As a commentator in the Huffington Post noted, presumably that post was made after work hours had ended.

In practice, there is a great, gray middle ground between excessive social-media use at work and an absolute prohibition. Companies have considerable discretion to set their own workplace policies on this.

For companies that take a hard line against social media, the technology exists now to monitor employees’ computer use very closely.

In some industries, however, strategic use of social media sites is actually part of the job. This is especially true, for example, in the advertising industry and in marketing positions. Activity on Twitter, Google + and so on may even be an expected part of such jobs.

In short, it is only natural for many employees to wonder about what degree of social-media activity is acceptable on work time. Employers often fail to communicate expectations properly, and the result can be wrongful termination when someone is fired for crossing a line that may not have been clearly drawn.

Source: Huffington Post, “How Facebook Can Get You Terminated and Keep You Terminated,” Don McNay, Feb. 26, 2014

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