You may think that what you do on your own time should have no interaction with your employment, but the fact is, employers have a lot of rights when it comes to how their employees utilize the Internet for social networking. In some situations, you could even lose your job for posting the wrong status. While many laws are still antiquated when it comes to employees and online monitoring, there are a few laws in place that are designed to protect your privacy. Here are two things you should know as an employee about social media and how it could affect your employment.
Your Employer May Have the Right to Ask You for Your Social Media Password
If you go for a job interview, do not be surprised if a potential employer asks you for your social media profile information, even your password. This is meant to be a measure to protect the company from hiring someone who does not have the best online reputation. Some states have passed social media laws that say this type of request is no longer allowed. However, many employers are unaware of these laws because they are relatively new, and, therefore, they may still ask. It is a good idea to familiarize yourself about what is and is not allowed to be requested in your state so you can protect your privacy if you have the right.
You Could Be Disciplined for Online Posts About the Company
Most employees believe that the First Amendment protects their right to speaking freely about anything, even on social media. However, this is not always the case when it comes to speaking about your employer. If you say something derogatory about the company, it could lead to termination and even a lawsuit if the company feels that you have posted something with malicious intent. If you are being terminated or otherwise treated badly for a post that would not be considered slander, it is imperative that you talk to your attorney, as you do have a right to share your opinions and concerns. Therefore, the employer does have rights, but you are also protected by retaliation laws in some states.
The bottom line to remember is that your online persona is not a completely separate entity from your real life. Plus, nothing you do online may ever be considered absolutely private, so make sure you keep your standards high on social media. However, if you feel that your privacy rights have been violated by an employer, talk to an employment law firm like John Franco Law with your concerns.