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Violating Company Social Networking Policy

Social Networking Policy Employee Violations


Many companies have social networking policies that forbid the use of social networking sites at work, that prohibit posting proprietary company information online, and/or that limit what employees can say online.

What Not to Post On Social Networking Sites

Posting confidential company information, even if it's good news, posting that you hate your job or you have a job offer you're going to take even though it's not a great job, 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 cost you your job or a job offer.

Companies aren't just worried about what you post, even though that's important. They are also concerned about the time you spend. Employee productivity is a problem when employees are Facebooking, Tweeting, watching YouTube videos, and doing anything else other than working.

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.

Violating Company Social Networking Policy

Facebook continues to be an issue and an employee time drain, despite all the warnings about carefully using the privacy settings. Even updating your status from work can violate company policy if you're not supposed to be using Facebook in the office.

Twitter is an issue 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.

LinkedIn can be problematic, as well, even though it's a professional networking site. I know one person who was fired ahead of schedule because 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 sooner rather than later.

Another person received 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.

If You Are Fired

What can you do if a company withdraws a job offer or fires you because of what you posted? Not much. Most states are "employment at will" meaning that the company doesn't need a reason to terminate your employment.

Employers are not required to provide a reason or explanation when terminating an at-will employee.

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.

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