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Can my social media posts get me in trouble at work?

Tuesday 26 November, 2019

Given recent controversy about Israel Folau’s personal social media accounts landing him in hot water, it’s worth working out if this can happen to you too.

Best practice dictates that an employer should have a policy for use of workplace technology and that this should include what is acceptable for personal use and social media. This should include how any use will be monitored and what might happen if you breach the policy.

Even with a social media policy, employers shouldn’t collect your personal information if it would be unfair or unreasonably intrusive. This means that your employer shouldn’t login to personal emails accounts or open any emails that are obviously confidential, such as those from lawyers or unions. They also shouldn’t use keystrokes to get passwords for access to personal accounts.

If you’re applying for a job, a potential employer can’t ask for your social media login details, befriend you on facebook to check you out or ask an existing friend to monitor you on social media.

Some examples of social media posts that are best to avoid as they may risk disciplinary action or even dismissal:

  • Ones that are damaging to the employer or critical of someone you work with
  • Any post that shares commercially sensitive info
  • Activity that is inconsistent with the values of the company
  • Posts that show you’re not sick when you’re on sick leave

If social media does land you in hot water though, consider these three points:

  • Did you post on work time or using work equipment?
  • Does your employer have specific rules and consequences for misuse of technology or social media activity?
  • Are your actions connected to the workplace? Do your actions reflect on your employer?

If you answered no to one or all of these and you’re facing disciplinary action, there’s a chance it might not be entirely fair.

Disclaimer:

This article does not purport to be legal advice. Get a second opinion, and if there are any uncertainties call us directly. We assume no liability for reliance on this post.

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