Can your social media posts affect your job?

4 August 2021
Over the years, social media usage has grown tremendously. In fact, recent studies have shown that the amount of users has increased even further over the past year as the pandemic has forced people to find different ways to connect with their loved ones.
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With social media being such a prominent feature in society, it’s important to ensure that you’re using your platform in an appropriate manner. Social media misconduct can actually result in employers taking disciplinary action against employees.

Here at John Fowlers Solicitors, our employment law solicitors take great pride in delivering specialist employment law support and advice. Get in touch with us for more information.

Can I be Dismissed From My Job For What I Post on Social Media?

In the UK, social media misconduct can be treated as seriously as verbal misconduct in a work environment. An employee posting offensive material, sharing derogatory posts or writing discriminatory comments online can reflect poorly on a company. Even if these posts are unrelated to work, they could have the potential to bring the reputation of the company into disrepute. Most employers will want to ensure that they are safeguarding their business, reputation and their employees. If an employer decides to dismiss an employee on the grounds of social media misconduct, they must still follow the correct procedures. 

Employment laws surrounding social media misuse can also be used to protect employees from online bullying or prejudice from colleagues or employers. 

When Can Employers Take Action?

You may find that an employer will take disciplinary action when online comments or posts have the potential to damage their reputation. If your employer is linked to your profile or if your posts are sent to your employer, you could still face disciplinary action if posts are deemed inappropriate or offensive. 

What is Generally Considered Social Media Misuse?

If your company has implemented a Social Media Policy which details acceptable behaviour and when action can be taken against an employee, it’s important to familiarise yourself with this. Generally, you should avoid posting content that could be interpreted as offensive, inappropriate or abusive. In a similar way, you should be mindful of making comments that could reveal confidential information or that could be deemed as critical of your employer or their clients. Online bullying and harassment could also result in disciplinary action too. Anything that breaks the law could result in you, and your employer, facing legal action. 

How to Protect Yourself

Taking into consideration the above points can help you ensure that you’re acting appropriately on social media. It’s important to check the privacy settings on each platform. Whilst you’re implementing these measures, it might be a good idea to remove older posts that could be deemed inappropriate. A negative post, tweet or comment can easily attract the attention of other social media users and has the potential to go viral. Even if your profile is set to private, you could still find that your opinion is being seen by an audience far bigger than you intended or imagined. It’s also important to remember that even though your profile is private, you could be reported by someone who follows you. 

If you’re an employer who needs advice and support on the disciplinary process, our employment law specialists can help. If you’ve recently been dismissed from your workplace due to social media misconduct and you feel that your employer hasn’t followed the correct procedures, we can help with this too. 

Our Employment Law Solicitors in Colchester cover all aspects of the legal relationship between the employee and employer. Get in touch with Karen Morovic for support with employment law matters. 

Speak to an expert:
Karen Morovic 
01206 576151