There have been more than a few stories in the news about employees being fired because of what they posted online. Posting company business (good or bad), posting that you hate your employer, posting inappropriate information on Facebook, tweeting that you have a job offer while still employed, are just a few examples, of what can get you in trouble, or even cost you your job, especially when you do it from work.
Violating Company Policy
Posting on LinkedIn can be problematic. I know one person who was fired ahead of schedule when he shared the news that he had received a warning with all his contacts on LinkedIn. That news got relayed to his boss and he was out of a job immediately. Someone else got a warning from his Human Resources Department because he gave a former colleague a reference on LinkedIn. Company policy prohibited references and Human Resources construed his referral to be a violation of that policy.
Facebook continues to be an issue, despite all the warnings about carefully using the privacy settings. Even updating your status saying that you're bored or hate your job, can ensure you don't have that job to hate or be bored at anymore.
Twitter is a problem, too. Every tweet shows up in Google, so it's easy to see what you're posting. Blog posts show up on the search engines, too, so be cautious what you say when you blog.
Job Searching From Work
Job searching from work is an issue as well. I know that many job seekers spend time at work job searching, but, in addition to the ethics issue of job hunting on your employer's dime, using your office computer is problematic.
Simply using your work computer for any personal business can be a problem if your company has guidelines on computer use on the job. Dan Prywes, an expert in labor and employment law and a partner in the Washington, D.C. office of Bryan Cave, explains that "Employers are within their rights to limit social networking site access and resume posting and you need to be prepared for the consequences when you post online."
Employers have the right to check what's on your computer, because it's not really yours - it belongs to the company. Here's information on when you can fired for job searching.
In addition, most states are "employment at will" meaning that the company doesn't need a reason to terminate your employment. Employment at will means that an employee can be terminated at any time without any reason (unless there is a prohibited form of discrimination).
Employers are not required to provide a reason or explanation when terminating an at-will employee. If you have an employment contract with your employer or are covered by a collective bargaining agreement, you have more rights, but the company still has the right to fire you for cause and violation of company policy is cause. Otherwise, you can be terminated for a reason or for no reason at all.
Public posting of your resume or posting the "wrong" information online can cost you your job and getting fired can make it harder to get another position. Rather than setting yourself up for possibly losing your job, take care in what and how you post information online. Dan Prywes share his tips for being careful online:
- Post Smart. Think before you post and don't take a chance on jeopardizing your job.
- Keep it Confidential. Don't disclose proprietary information about your employer online - either good or bad news.
- Be Intelligent. Don't post or send your resume around from work.
- Be Prepared. Be prepared for the consequences.
Think Before You Post
Thinking before you post is really good advice. That's because once you post it's hard, if not impossible, to take it back.
If there is any doubt in your mind about what you can, or can't, say, keep it to yourself. Also ask yourself whether you really need to say that and what you'll gain from it. The answer is probably not enough to take a chance on losing your job.