Chances are good that if your employer does not already have a social media policy in place, it will introduce one soon. As social media continues to evolve, so too will such policies. All too often, people fired because of something they posted to Facebook or Twitter fail to realize that the employer had specifically stated that comments such as the ones they made could be grounds for termination in the employee handbook.
Many employers have general policies that allow them to review any and all internet activities employees take part in on work computers. This means that you can not only be terminated for something you wrote or posted yourself, but an employer could also fire you simply for viewing material on a social networking website that somebody else posted.
You should consult your employee handbook to see what your company’s specific social media policy is. The Huffington Post reported on January 19, 2011, that an analysis by network security firm Palo Alto Networks found that “employees were three times more active on Facebook at the office compared with activity during the same period in 2010,” and employees “browsed Twitter seven times more often.”
Some employers permit this type of internet activity during work hours, but many others expressly prohibit it. All too often, a firing because of social media comments or usage does not violate employment law because the employee clearly violated company policy. You should review your own company’s policy or, if no such policy is in place, get confirmation from your supervisor as to what sites are acceptable to visit while on company time.
Law Offices of Kesluk, Silverstein & Jacob – Los Angeles employment attorneys