Your job is your job, and your free time is your free time. So, what you post on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram won’t impact your professional life. Or will it? It may be time to ask yourself, “Will my company look at my social media?”
Is It Legal for My Company to Look at My Social Media?
Yes. Employers can look at your social media platforms, although sometimes the rules are fuzzy. For example, many businesses use social media accounts to screen candidates during the hiring process. Generally, this is fine. However, if an organization doesn’t hire (or fire) someone because their Facebook profile reveals protected characteristics such as age, religion, or national origin, this violates laws enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Asking employees for personal passwords is another gray area. Usually, this is frowned upon, but laws vary by state.
Will My Company Look at My Social Media?
Assume the answer is yes. According to a 2018 survey, 43 percent of employers use social media to check on current employees. Even if you KNOW your organization doesn’t track social media accounts, still be careful. With so many people connected online, your boss could easily see one of your posts.
Can I Get Fired Over a Social Media Post?
Yes. Most states are employment at will. This means an employer can let an employee go at any time without any reason (unless the company is breaking anti-discrimination laws). Certainly, some social media posts are more problematic than others. For instance, sharing company secrets is a definite no-no. Nevertheless, when in doubt, play it safe and don’t post something that could be controversial.
What Should I Do to Keep My Social Media Job-Friendly?
- Know the Rules
Many companies have social media policies. Be sure to familiarize yourself with your business’s rules. Or check in with your HR department if you’re not sure what is and isn’t allowed.
- Avoid Offensive Material
Any post that reflects poorly on your organization could get you into trouble. Steer clear of profanity, inappropriate photos, adult content, illegal drug references, and discriminatory comments. Also, don’t trash talk your current employer.
- Think Before You Post
Before you hit post, ask yourself, “What if my boss saw this?” If this question makes you uncomfortable, hit delete instead. Remember, thoughtless comments CAN come back to haunt you months (or years) later.
What If I Want to Keep a Private Account?
Private accounts are fine. For instance, let’s say you love hunting, but your boss is in favor of strict gun control laws. To prevent a public disagreement with your organization’s leadership, you could connect with your hunting buddies on a private channel instead. Yet, keep in mind, nothing online is ever 100 percent private. So, even if you think you have everything locked down, continue to follow the rules above… just in case.
Are You Looking for a Job with a Company That’s More Lenient About Social Media?
Halpin Staffing Services is here for you! Our recruiters help talented employees find great jobs with the right-fit organizations. Learn more about our hiring process today.