Can I get fired for using Social Media?
Updated on July 15th, 2013
The question on everybody’s lips is… “can I get fired for using social media?”
Luckily Brisbane Corporate & IT lawyer, Malcolm Burrows was on hand to answer this one for us.
In this 1:42 minute interview, you’ll learn how you should conduct yourself on social networks and what is and isn’t acceptable!
Social media conduct tips for employees, with Malcolm Burrows
Hi. Malcolm Burrows is my name. I’m a corporate and technology lawyer with a special interest in social media law.
Can people get fired from what they do on social media websites?
Adam, that’s a quite interesting question and it arises quite frequently. The general rule is that an employer cannot hold an employee accountable for their after-hours conduct unless that conduct is specifically referable to the employer and secondly, unless that conduct amounts to a repudiation of their employment agreement, which simply means that the conduct needs to be something that the employer would be bound by and the employee evidences the fact that they don’t want to work there anymore.
Are there any examples that highlight this?
Yes, it happens quite frequently, but it tends to slip under the radar a lot, which is where there are some extremely negative comments about an employer. So, if a member of staff is to go out there and openly ‘bag’ their boss or ‘bag’ their employer or say what a horrible place it was to work, online; then that’s probably a situation that would evidence the intention not to be bound by the employment contract and the employer could terminate.
What tips do you have for employees regarding how they should behave on social media?
Put simply, I think it’s a commonsense test. Don’t say anything that you wouldn’t be prepared to say to someone’s face, and don’t say anything that you don’t want to be held accountable for. Social media policy, for example, can go a long way towards communicating what’s expected, and what the standards are, and also what will be enforced against an employee.
Social Media Lawyer: If you’re interested in developing a social media policy or getting legal advice, give Malcolm Burrows a call at Rostron Carlyle Solictors (07) 3009 8438 or follow @ITCorporateLaw