DBS Checks & Criminal Record Checks

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Can I Get Sacked For What I Post On Social Media?

In today’s digital age, social media has become an integral part of our lives. We share our thoughts, experiences, and opinions with friends and followers. However, it’s important to recognise that what you post on social media can have significant consequences, particularly regarding your employment. 

In this article we explore the types of social media posts that could land you in trouble with your employer.

Types of Social Media Posts That Can Get You in Trouble

1. Offensive or Inappropriate Content

Posting content that is offensive, discriminatory, or inappropriate can be grounds for dismissal. This includes hate speech, racist remarks, sexist comments, and any other form of discriminatory or offensive language. Employers have a duty to ensure a respectful and inclusive workplace, and such posts can be seen as a reflection of your professional behaviour and values; regardless of if they’re posted in a private or public group.

2. Confidential Information

Sharing confidential information about your company, its clients, or business practices can lead to severe repercussions. Employers take confidentiality seriously (many ask you to sign an NDA upon your employment, or include lines in your contract about confidentiality), and breaching this trust can not only result in your termination, but also potential legal action. This includes posting sensitive information, business strategies, financial data, or any proprietary information relating to the company and its clients.

Even after you’ve finished your employment with a company, it’s important to consider what you’re posting on social media.  Your contract or NDA may state that you cannot speak publicly about your experiences and the company for X amount of months / years.

3. Negative Comments About Your Employer or Colleagues

Publicly criticising your employer, colleagues, or workplace can damage professional relationships and the company’s reputation. While it might be tempting to vent frustrations online, such posts can be viewed as unprofessional and damaging, leading to disciplinary action or termination.

This extends to review platforms, as well as traditional social media platforms.  Don’t fall for the temptation to bad mouth your employers (even after you’ve left), as defamatory statements could land you in legal trouble.

4. Illegal Activities

Posts that depict or promote illegal activities, including drug use, theft, or violence, can have severe consequences for your employment. Employers are likely to distance themselves from employees involved in illegal activities to maintain their reputation and comply with legal obligations.

5. Inappropriate Conduct Outside Work

Even if the content of your post is unrelated to your job, behaviour that is deemed inappropriate or unethical can still impact your employment. This includes posts involving excessive alcohol consumption, lewd behaviour, or any conduct that reflects poorly on your character and, by extension, your employer.

Remember that historic social media posts can impact your employment potential too, with many employers conducting Social Media Checks during the hiring process.

DBS Checks & Criminal Record Checks

Can Your Employer Legally Terminate You Due To Your Social Media Posts

Simply put, yes. Although there are a number of acts and laws in place to ensure employees are not unfairly dismissed by their employer, your behaviour on social media can lead to your termination.

Employment Rights Act 1996

Under the Employment Rights Act 1996, employees in the UK are protected against unfair dismissal if they have been continuously employed for at least two years. However, there are exceptions where dismissals can be deemed fair, such as cases involving gross misconduct. Offensive or inappropriate social media posts can be classified as gross misconduct, potentially justifying immediate dismissal without notice.

Human Rights Act 1998

The Human Rights Act 1998 grants individuals the right to freedom of expression. However, this right is not absolute and can be restricted in certain circumstances, such as protecting the rights and reputations of others. Employers can legitimately limit employees’ freedom of expression if their posts negatively impact the company’s reputation or workplace environment.

Social Media Policies

Many employers implement social media policies outlining acceptable and unacceptable online behaviour. These policies are designed to protect the company’s reputation, maintain confidentiality, and ensure a respectful work environment. Employees are expected to adhere to these policies, and breaches can result in disciplinary action, including dismissal.

 

While social media is a valuable platform for personal expression and personal branding, it’s crucial to be mindful of the potential impact your posts can have on your professional life.  A Social Media Check can help your employer to highlight whether your social media and online activities are potentially damaging to the reputation of your business; and may impact your employability. 

Think before you post, it may cost you severely.

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