Can You Legally Get Fired For What You Post on Social Media?

In today’s information age, social media is obviously very prevalent.  As such, employees need to be mindful of how social media posts may impact their professional lives. Under certain circumstances, an employer may have a legitimate business reason for terminating an employee’s employment based on their social media postings.   

Can Your Employer Check Your Social Media Accounts? 

Generally speaking, employers in New Jersey have the legal right to check an employee’s or job applicant’s social media accounts under certain conditions. However, there are important considerations and limitations to be aware of:

  • Publicly Accessible Information: Employers can generally view information that is publicly accessible on social media profiles. This includes posts, comments, and information that you have chosen to share publicly.
  • Privacy Settings and Friend Requests: If your social media accounts are set to private or have strict privacy settings, employers cannot request private usernames or passwords. 
  • Employer Policies and Consent: Some employers have policies that govern the use of social media, both in the workplace and in an employee’s personal life. Employees may be required to adhere to these policies, and violating them could have consequences.
  • Monitoring During Employment: Employers generally have the right to monitor employees’ use of company-owned equipment and resources, including work-related social media accounts.

Types of Social Media Posts That Can Affect You Negatively At Work 

Certain types of social media posts can potentially have a negative impact on your professional life, especially if they are deemed inappropriate, offensive, or unprofessional.  Examples include:

  • Discriminatory or Offensive Language: Posts containing discriminatory remarks or offensive language can be highly detrimental to your professional image.
  • Harassment or Bullying: Engaging in or endorsing online harassment or bullying behavior can reflect poorly on your character and may lead to concerns about your conduct in the workplace.
  • Inappropriate Content: This includes explicit content, whether it’s images, videos, or written content. Such posts can be viewed as unprofessional and may violate workplace policies.
  • Confidential or Proprietary Information: Sharing sensitive or confidential information about your workplace, clients, or projects, even unintentionally, can lead to serious consequences and may breach confidentiality agreements.

Best Practices When It Comes to Social Media and Your Job

Maintaining a professional and positive online presence is important in today’s digital age. Here are some best practices for managing social media in relation to your job:

  • Review and Adjust Privacy Settings:  Regularly review and update your privacy settings on social media platforms to control who can see your posts and information. 
  • Separate Personal and Professional Accounts:  Consider creating separate social media accounts for your personal and professional use. Keep your professional accounts focused on industry-related content, networking, and showcasing your expertise.
  • Think Before You Post:  Avoid posting content that could be offensive, controversial, or unprofessional.
  • Stay Informed About Company Policies:  Familiarize yourself with your employer’s policies regarding social media use. Adhering to these policies is crucial for maintaining a positive relationship with your employer.

If You’ve Been Wrongfully Fired We Can Help 

If you believe that you have been wrongfully fired due to your social media posts, you should consult with legal counsel.  If you are in need of legal representation to defend you in a wrongful termination matter and/or are in need of the services of an experienced New Jersey wrongful termination lawyer who will provide you with important practical and legal counseling, please contact Curcio Mirzaian Sirot LLC.

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