Could Your Facebook Page Land You in Court?
Recently, My HR Director wrote a post for the MATRIX blog about privacy on Facebook (and other social media outlets). Though we’ve all heard the warnings of “being careful what you post,” it put things in perspective with a few real life examples.
Here’s the post:
We all know that today we’re living in a world of faster and faster communication via so many outlets, and first and foremost for many is Facebook. If we’re not on Facebook ourselves, we surely know others who are. And don’t the benefits of easily keeping up with friends and family, even connecting with old friends, far outweigh any disadvantages? You would hope! But is everything about Facebook really so great? Most say yes, but others may not be so quick to agree.
After recently attending several employment seminars and reading or hearing stories in the news, a word of caution for all you social media wizards might be in order. There are some sad stories about candidates not being hired or employees being put on probation, or even losing their jobs, as a result of what appeared on their Facebook pages. We are all protected by our First Amendment rights of freedom of speech. But these rights are now being tested in courts across the country by individuals as well as by large and small companies alike. Let’s be “Facebook smart” and think about the best way to use this technology.
If you are even remotely considering a job change or are actively looking for a job, take the time to clean up your profile (if needed). Why, you say? Employers, recruiters, and hiring managers are apt to check you out on Facebook, LinkedIn, personal blogs, and various other sites, and may ultimately eliminate you from their search without even a phone call because of what they read or see. Among the most common guidelines we see and know are:
- Use a personal e-mail address and NEVER that of your employer.
- Protect your privacy to ensure others can’t see what you don’t want them to see.
- Think before you post because information posted on your profile page may be searchable.
- Know your friends and do not accept requests from anyone you do not know.
And who posts the most outrageous pictures on their pages? You probably don’t want it to be you. What may be cute or funny to your friends, just may not be the case in the eyes of your employers, prospective employers, or even coworkers.
A recent example is something I read in the news last week: A teacher who, while on vacation, posted pictures and updates about her escapades, all the time believing her Facebook page was set at the highest privacy level. Without her knowing, some of her students were able to access her page. It was extremely embarrassing for her and her employer and, needless to say, parents in the school were quite upset. Yes, she was on vacation, she wasn’t with her students, and she was on her own time; but yet, her Facebook page was no longer private. The story unravels as she resigned from her job, is now represented by an attorney, and her case may end up in court.
This is just one of what seems to a growing number of examples of how what you innocently post on Facebook may potentially get you in trouble. What summed it up best for me from this article was, and I quote, “how blurry the lines can be when it comes to social media and professional conduct.” Yes, the lines are now blurred.
Source: The MATRIX Wall