It’s nothing new that people have lost their jobs because their employer found out or was notified about something posted on a social media account.
Just imagine you are working towards a debt free life and a good retirement fund and all of a sudden you say the wrong thing on your social media account and you lose the career you worked so hard to get. It happens more often than you think.
You can completely ignore any advice and say what you want because it’s your after all. The problem is some people aren’t going to learn until they are getting the pink slip. Social media is not rocket science but your employer may still hold reign over you even when you are not working.
What’s worse than being embarrassed about the job you have is being embarrassed when you are fired and it’s been made public because of your online actions.
Your company’s reputation is always on the line, never forget that. Like the saying goes, “Common Sense isn’t so Common” which means there are always going to be people who make you scratch your head and wonder, “Why on earth would you have said that?”.
Some people don’t care about whether they get fired or not. Some people believe that Free Speech will cover their butt but it may not when it comes to you job.
If you don’t care about whether you get fired or not you likely don’t need to work because your bank accounts are overflowing with cash. Probably not which leads me to believe that people who say things they shouldn’t on social media simply don’t think before they speak whether in person or when hiding behind a computer screen.
It’s not just social media like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Reddit and so on it’s anywhere on the web whether it be on a forum or even a blog post.
Once it’s out there, it’s out there and if someone can see it you may get burned for it. Whatever platform your venting your views on, you may want to engage the brain before the mouth starts working.
Our world revolves around technology and it’s only bound to become stronger and much more powerful for the people.
Social Media Smothered
It’s 2015 and we’re well into the digital age where anything and everything you say on the web follows you. Let’s not forget that just about everywhere we go in public these days we are being filmed on camera. If it’s not camera then someone has a smartphone or camera ready to video or take photos.
Our lives used to be private behind closed doors but not so much these days with social media, photos we share, comments and opinions. We’ve digitally invited people into our private world. It’s like leaving your front door unlocked all the time.
Can you really be fired for what you say and do outside of office hours?
You bet, especially if you signed an employment contract which has terms and conditions including a code of conduct, specifically a social media code of conduct.
That question was posed in a Globe Article written by Tony Wilson in 2012 “Social Media Conduct Could Get You Fired” and here was the answer…
With very few exceptions, an employer can fire an employee for just about anything. It just comes down to whether the employer owes the employee severance or if the employee’s conduct is so egregious, the employer can dismiss the employee for “cause” with no severance at all.
If there is something you don’t agree with when it comes to your company don’t take to social media talk to your boss, employer or HR first. If you care about your place of employment or what you do for a living then watch what you say whether you are on or off the clock.
Most businesses use a company mission and code of conduct including social media which they expect every employee to follow. The problem is most people let their mouths or fingertips in this case do the talking.
They don’t think before they hit “Tweet” or “Post” and before you know it a social media laugh has gone viral right into the Human Resources department which lands on your bosses desk.
What if you are the boss and you get called out on social media? You type something hateful or that is downright unacceptable especially from a business owner.
Well, you won’t get fired from being the CEO of your own company however don’t jump to conclusions about that so fast.
Ask yourself these 2 questions
- Who pays your bills?
- Who buys your product?
That’s right, the customers so if you think for one minute you are safe because you are the owner, think again.
Word of mouth or social media in 2015 spreads like wildfire on Reddit, Facebook and Twitter being the most popular of the many available on the web.
When your customers stop spending money at your business and they will talk then you might as well close up shop and ask for forgiveness if that’s even possible. I’d certainly make a public apology for what was said or done and face the consequences of your actions.
Even if you have a millions of dollars in the bank you better hope that you can stretch that money and take your lifestyle down a notch if you screw up your business because of what you say or do on social media. Millions don’t last that long if you like to flash the cash however billions might be a different story.
Look at what happened in 2013 when Mike Jeffries CEO of Abercrombie and Fitch said he markets to exclusive groups of people, good-looking, sexy and skinny. “Sex sells and skinny people are sexy” he said in a 2006 interview with Salon.
The puncture repair kit came out in the aftermath of motor mouth with a statement saying they will be adding a line of clothes for plus size women in 2014. Mike Jeffries also stepped down as CEO after the board of directors didn’t exactly like what they saw. On the exit of Jeffries the stock jumped 7%.
Just yesterday yet another person was fired from their job because of something said on Social Media. An Ontario College Professor Rick Coupland at the St. Lawrence College was put on leave with pay pending a social media investigation in regards to his Facebook account.
The investigation was prompted after a student complained about a comment on the professors Facebook account. It didn’t take long to see his account deleted but that doesn’t mean the complaint is no longer valid. According to news reports, the investigation has been completed and he no longer works for the College.
What did he do to be reprimanded so harshly?
He shared his homophobic thoughts in an open post on Facebook for the world to see. He commented with hate talk on an American post which depicted a Rainbow Flag being lifted in St. Petersburg, Florida.
It was a “Breach” of the school’s code of conduct according to Spokeswomen Kelly Wiley for the College. Yes, he made his bed and now he has to face those consequences. I read so many comments on social media about this College Professor and “Freedom of Speech” came up so many times.
Yes, in Canada there is Freedom of Speech however there are expectations of common sense especially when you work in the public or private sector or anywhere for that matter. So, what did Rick say on social media that had him asking his Facebook friends to “Pray for Me and My Job” as he was called into the college by representatives?
Read on to see the shocking screen shot from his Facebook account.
He already knew he was in trouble and what he said cost him big time. These are times where you’d better have an emergency savings fund ready and something to tell the wife and kids you will be going home to with no income to pay for the family budget.
If you’re single or dating someone you still have to live with the consequences too because you are the one who has to live with them. Some people may not feel any remorse for what they say or do on social media until it comes down to losing their job because of it.
You see that “Earth” symbol next to the ‘hrs’ under his name? That means that the post is made ‘Public’ which means everyone can see it and read it. Now you’ve not only told your friends what you think you’ve told the entire world of Facebook.
Source Twitter Photo: @Jolisa_
Should Rick have been fired?
Well that’s not our decision to make because we don’t have his employment contract in front of us and we never will. The only people who can make that decision are the people he dealt with at the College level. It’s no surprise though to see the consequences of his actions come to light.
That may or may not be a huge blow financially to Rick and he may never work in the school system again after this public verbal performance. That one second of not thinking can follow you for the rest of your life.
Today I have 3 tips for all you social media lovers out there that don’t want to be next on the stands wondering if they will have a job to go to in the morning.
Listen, I’m not your boss, Human Resources, the union or anyone that works in employment law or even human rights etc… so if you don’t know the answer, talk to one of them first.
Zip it Shut
Free Speech means you won’t get your butt thrown in jail but common sense should be your first priority. Your job may be potentially in jeopardy whether you say or do something during working hours or not online so be prepared if you get called in by Human Resources or your boss.
If they have concerns or someone has complained you may find yourself in the hot seat. I’m going to say 9 times out of 10 when you say something on Facebook it will find a way to come back to you if it was something you shouldn’t have said.
Remember: You always represent the company you work for especially if your employment contract says so.
If you don’t want to be the next person out of a job and splattered all over social media learn how to keep your mouth shut if you can’t say anything nice at all. That really is the only line you need to take away from this entire blog post if you value your career.
It’s one thing to be opinionated but another to bash someone or a group of people online. Once it’s on the web someone can capture it in an instant and if it’s a ‘hot topic’ it won’t take long before it goes viral.
Think before you type!
Make it “Friends Only” and No Work Mates
Changing your Facebook status to “Friends only” or a specific group to target among your friends may help keep the nosey people out but that’s about it.
All it takes is for you to say the wrong thing and even though someone may be your friend they may find it offensive, especially if they work for the same company as you.
It may seem harsh to do, but not having anyone you work with on your social media accounts (which you can control) might be a good idea. You can make most social media account private such as Facebook, Instagram or even Twitter where your tweets are protected.
Just because you’re not at work doesn’t mean it won’t affect the people you work with or the organization.
Not everyone we accept on Facebook are friends we interact with daily or have recently seen. Some so-called friends are just being nosey and most people allow them to be on their Facebook page just to have more friends on their list like it’s a popularity contest.
If you haven’t spoken or seen someone in a long time then consider letting them know you appreciate their friend request but are not interested or just leave it.
This tip still doesn’t make it right or safe for you to say what you want but it’s your life, do what you want. Remember what I said earlier, you suffer the consequences of your actions.
As for other social media such as Twitter, once your public tweet is out there you can delete it but again it takes mere seconds to capture a tweet to share with the world.
Think before you type!
If you are not aware whether your company has a social media conduct code or if you could get terminated because of social media I’d recommend you to talk to your boss or Human Resources.
Every good company who cares about their employees will create a program to educate their staff about social media and what is and what is not acceptable. Your employer can terminate you for just about anything if they have grounds to show you the door.
Trust me when I say they won’t hesitate either unless they find your social media account has been hacked but that takes concrete evidence.
If your company does not educate you, educate yourself.
There is more than enough information online to aid you but the best place to go is right to your employer for the answers.
If all else fails… Think before you type!
Ultimately if you value your career keep thoughts you don’t want the world to see off the web! Even better, don’t use social media at all!
Free Speech is free which means you are free to use your voice but if the consequences end badly then you pay the price.
If you don’t want people to talk about words you’ve shared then don’t type it especially when your livelihood is on the line.
Should someone get fired for what they share or do on social media? Why or why not?
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