Wednesday, December 29, 2010

More people get fired over social media posts, and more employers go looking for them

MSN today has a series-report (many consecutive pages) of people being fired for contents on social media posts that disparage the employer or its customers. The incidents today include a Pizza shop employee, an NFL employee, and a teacher.

Many people do not realize that others besides their “friends” may see the posts, and more employers are systematically checking, according to MSN.

The First Amendment would not protect people from reasonable “blogging policies” instituted by private employers (or even government employers). More and more employers are discovering that this is a sensitive issue, although problems related to personal blogs available to search engines go back as far as 2002 with Heather Armstrong (“dooce”).

I’ve written about this on my “BillBoushka” blog before (Nov. 9, 2010 has the most recent case, of an EMS worker).

Fortunately, it does not seem realistic for employers to regulate social media use at home because it is so widespread, but many jobs require the use of personal social media to support the job, not one’s own agenda. Consider how a life insurance agent has to network with people and get leads, for example.

The Charlotte Observer has a typical story by Eric Frazier about the "online gripe" of the Pizza worker who complained about keeping working late by laid-back customers, and there is an interesting Facebook sequence about it.

Here’s a typical MSN link on the story.

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