Can You Get Fired Because of Social Media?

Can You Get Fired Because of Social Media?

Have you ever given much thought as to what exactly comes up when someone searches your name online? If they type your name in, you have to think about what your personal brand might appear to look like if they’re searching for you on a professional basis. You also have to think about your social media profiles and what people can see.

Maybe you’re making 2023 the year you finally decide to change careers or start your own business. You might have big goals, but it’s possible that you don’t achieve those goals because of something floating around about you online, especially on your social media profiles.

You also have to realize that not only can you legally get fired because of social media, but it happens all the time.

With those things in mind, the following are some things to know for the new year about your online presence and your social media profiles, and the effects they can have on your career.

At-Will Employment

Most states are at-will, meaning the employer and employee have a working relationship that’s maintained at their own will. That means you can quit any time as the employee, but also, your employer can end the relationship and terminate you at any time as long as the reason isn’t at will.

Some employees aren’t at will. An example will be if you’re an employee who has a written contract of employment. This will outline the conditions where your employment could be ended. It may be that social media conduct is included in your contract.

What’s Protected?

You can’t be fired if you’re participating in a protected concerted activity. That means you can talk about and criticize your employer when it comes to working conditions, decisions, and employment policies when you talk to other employees. The reason this is legal is that you’re allowed to come together with coworkers to improve your working conditions and pay.

If you’re going to social media to vent about your employer, this isn’t likely to be a protected activity.

Another example where you couldn’t be fired for social media is if you’re being terminated based on a protected class characteristic. If an employer uses a social media post to fire you because of your sex, race, color, religion, age, or disability, they are likely in violation of federal law.

There are states that have created laws that prevent firing employees based on social media content. As long as the activities are legal in these states, then it’s not a lawful reason for an employer to fire someone.

When Can You Be Fired?

On the other hand, while there are limited situations that are protected, there is a wide range of scenarios where you can be fired.

A few examples include posting customer lists or trade secrets online or posting photos that are a poor reflection on the employee. If your employer thinks your social media content is creating a negative reflection on them, they can end the relationship on the grounds that you’re harming the business’s reputation.

If you were using social media at work, it could also mean you could be fired.

One of the trickiest parts of social media is that things can pop up that you don’t even think about. For example, maybe you liked offensive Tweets, or you got into a battle with someone on social media. It could be that these things come back to haunt you. If you think things like this could be floating around and associated with your name, the best thing you can do may be to delete these profiles altogether.

Cleaning Up Your Online Presence

A good way to invest in yourself professionally as we head into 2023 is to take the time necessary to clean up your online presence. Whether you’re in the market for an altogether new job or you’re worried about keeping the one you have, you want to have a positive online reputation.

Depending on how seriously you take it all, you can hire an online reputation company, but you can also do most of the cleanup on your own.

Once you clean up your reputation and social media, you can start to shape your personal brand to reflect how you want people to see you in a professional sense.

To clean up your online presence, take the following steps:

  • Do an audit of every account you have and all of your profiles. You’ve probably created a lot of profiles over time, and you may not even remember some of them right away.
  • Go back to old accounts and delete the information, as well as deactivate them. This might be easy on some sites, and you can search through your email if you aren’t sure where you have accounts.
  • Once you’ve gotten rid of the accounts you know you had, do a Google search of your name. If you do this and things are still showing up that you don’t like, but you don’t have control over them, you might need to try something else, which could include creating positive profiles that will push the negative things further down in the results. If you find a photo on Google that isn’t flattering or doesn’t portray you the way you want to be seen, you can go to the Google Help Center, and there is information that can help you potentially remove it.
  • For any accounts that you have, make sure you customize your privacy settings.

Once you feel like you’ve cleaned up your online presence, a good way to shape how people see you is to create a personal website and use it for blogging about things that are related to your career. You can also add a portfolio of your work if relevant.

It seems like every day, there’s a news story about someone’s past online behavior or social media profiles coming back to affect them, sometimes more than a decade later. Do yourself a favor and take the time to ensure you don’t find yourself in this situation.

Check Also

Hello Kitty Wallpaper

Exploring the Enduring Charm of wallpaper:8gou3l7op8q= hello kitty

wallpaper:8gou3l7op8q= hello kitty Hello Kitty, a beloved character created by the Japanese company Sanrio, has …