Is It Okay to Fire Someone for Something Posted on Social Media?

Author: PeopleFinders on October 12th, 2018
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In the modern age, where people can livestream their existences at any point in time, it can be easy to say something online that can get you into trouble. Whether that’s something hateful, something illegal, or just something not thought through very well, it’s hard to say exactly where the line is, and posting certain things may reflect badly upon you as a person. Before you hit “Post” with your newest update, here are some things to consider.

Local and Federal Laws Still Apply

Yes, you can face legal consequences for things you do or say online. It’s a little difficult, since admitting a Facebook post into court evidence requires a large amount of legwork and multiple types of substantiation, but it’s possible. Just because you’re on the internet, that doesn’t mean you’re automatically free from consequences, or that you can do whatever you’d like. In fact, even if you’re using social media under a fake name, with an alias, or through a VPN or private browser, if those posts are connected to you, then you can absolutely face a charge.

When it comes to your job, remember that posting about illegal actions connected to your workplace is absolutely grounds to fire you, especially if your company actually does the work necessary to connect your post directly to you. While you shouldn’t be stealing, harming people, or discriminating against fellow employees in general, posting about those kinds of actions, even in jest, will almost certainly get you fired.

The Internet Isn’t Private

Most people who’ve used the internet for any amount of time know that it can be annoying to connect with so many people. It can feel as though your life is on public display, and you may wish that you had more privacy. The fact remains that when you post in a public forum, everyone can see what you’re posting; your boss, coworkers, and loved ones can all see you if they look hard enough.

Even more importantly, however, nondisclosure agreements, privacy agreements, and confidentiality laws are always in effect, even on the internet. It doesn’t matter what kind of funny thing someone said; if you work with children, the elderly, mentally or physically ill people, or other people who tell you sensitive information, you’re almost definitely under a confidentiality agreement, and you shouldn’t say anything about it on social media. Not only is this a moral issue, but it’s a legal issue, as a breach of confidentiality is grounds for multiple kinds of lawsuits. Is getting a few Facebook likes worth risking your job? Is it worth risking your license if you’re a therapist or doctor?

It’s Not Hard to Find Someone Using His or Her Online Identity

If you use your real name, even a nickname, as your Facebook or LinkedIn name, it’s likely that someone can find you. If you connect your phone number to your social media sites, you can have your entire life overthrown by someone who’s upset because you insulted him or her.

Many people don’t understand just how easy it is to find someone based on an internet fingerprint, but PeopleFinders can help you get that knowledge firsthand. Using just your first name, last name, city, and state, you can run a background check on yourself. If someone finds that information and calls your employer, he or she may decide to do a federal background check on you, and you could be in hot water. Use the reverse phone search to find your full name, current and prior addresses, and even additional contact information with just your phone number. It’s surprisingly easy, and it’s important to remember just how easy it is when you’re dealing with your online life.

Conclusion

Twenty years ago, nobody could lose employment for posting something hateful. Now, however, the rise of social media has made it much easier for this kind of behavior to make its way back to employers. Remember that what you post on social media reflects a certain way on you, and if you’re posting things that are illegal or immoral, your employers could choose to look into that. Remember to frequently look at your profiles and use PeopleFinders to see what people could learn about you from your public image. You can also use the site to protect yourself by reading the PeopleFinders blog for more information about online safety.

Photo Credit: Drobot Dean – stock.adobe.com

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Categorized in: Culture