Social media use has exploded in recent years. About 41.6 percent of the U.S. population has a Facebook account. Americans spent an average of seven hours a month on social media. And although a lot of people think their activities are private, that’s not always the case. Stories have abounded in the press in recent years about people who have gotten fired in recent years because of online activity.
If an employee trashes his or her boss, the company, or the customers, the employer is allowed to fire the employee in most cases. At least one California court has ruled that postings on social media sites are not considered private, so if your employer finds out about a negative posting, you could be fired. In another case, an unionized employee was fired in California for making postings on her Facebook page that insulted her boss, although that case was later settled out of court after the union raised the issue. However, you should be able to state facts about working conditions without being retaliated against.
You may also be fired if your employer discovers you are engaging in activities you shouldn’t be involved in. If you are working for a church, posting pictures of yourself engaging in activities that aren’t in accordance with the church’s fundamental principles could be cause for termination.
A new law in California that affects Facebook use went into effect on January 1. The law prohibits employers from requiring applicants or employees to disclose their usernames and passwords to personal social media, such as Facebook, Twitter or blogs. They also can’t ask employees or applicants to access personal social media in the presence of the employer. Employers are also prohibited from firing or disciplining employees who fail to comply with such a request. However, employers can ask for such information if it’s relevant to a violation of the law or employee misconduct. Employers can also ask for such information in order to access an employer issued electronic device.
At Liberty Law, Micha Star Liberty believes that in most cases, it’s best to limit the information you choose to share about your job online. Although you may legally have the right to post some information, why start a fight between yourself and your employer? However, if you do feel that you’ve been improperly terminated in San Francisco, Oakland, Fremont, Hayward, Hillsborough or the surrounding areas because of online activity, call contact Micha Star Liberty, San Francisco employment termination attorney, at Liberty Law at 415-896-1000 today.