Legal Guide

How to Get Fired for Your Social Media Posts

You have a right to express your opinions and beliefs in public. No one can take that away from you. Even if your choice of words is offensive, you can say pretty much whatever you want. That doesn’t mean that you are entirely protected from the consequences of your actions. Social media posts have been the downfall of many reckless employees who chose to publicly rant about their jobs, supervisors, or coworkers. It is legal for your employer to terminate you for some of things you post online.

Everyone Sees What You Post

Just about everyone has internet access and a Facebook account these days. Enough of your friends and coworkers are interconnected that it is likely that the things you post will be found out. There is no reason to believe that you will not be observed. While this is the whole point of social media, you have a responsibility to behave ethically.

There is a prevalent assumption that you can do whatever you want online, but the truth is that you are still responsible for any inflammatory remarks you make and their consequences. The things you say, have an effect on others. When your statements violate a harassment policy or damage the company image, you can be held accountable for it.

Protected and Unprotected Speech

Your rights to free expression cannot be legally infringed upon, but others also have the right to ignore you. Spiteful language that seeks to cause harm is not protected. Lies, slander, and an attempt to deliberately damage someone financially, emotionally, or socially can all have legal and financial price.

That is not to say that an employer can simply terminate you for making a post that they disagree with. Your employer must respect legitimate complaints, but it can be difficult to distinguish between the two. This issue has become so contentious, that the National Labor Relations Board has issued guidelines for settling disputes over social media posts.

An employer may impose disciplinary measures against an employee for comments made on social media if those comments are considered to be deliberately harmful, but as an employee you have the right to publicly discuss certain legitimate issues. You may have those discussions in public with other employees, and you cannot be penalized for it. You must make truthful statements, and topics are limited to work place environments and pay. You can openly complain about safety issues that affect everyone one or share information concerning wages.

Some Things to Consider

As a rule, it is always better to refrain from making incendiary remarks on social media websites in the first place. Always consider the things that you are about to post before you press enter key. Will your remarks be hurtful? Are they intended to make someone else feel bad? Do you want to have to explain what you have said? Temper your statements, and only offer constructively criticism.

If you are in a dispute with an employer, attempt to settle the matter without resorting to name calling online. If you were terminated after honestly presenting a legitimate grievance for discussion, then you may be entitled to some compensation. When your efforts to resolve a conflict fail, get help from an attorney.

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