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Social Media at Work

Social Media and Your Employment: How to Avoid Disciplinary Action – Part 2

By | Bullying & Harassment

In part 2 of this article we provide four more tips to help you navigate your social media use, whether it’s Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, LinkedIn or TikTok, without getting yourself into trouble at work.

Unfortunately, what you post, comment or share on social media can have an impact on your employment and can lead to your employer taking disciplinary action against you, including terminating your employment.

Here are tips numbered 5 to 8.  You can see our first four tips here.

1. Don’t access your social media on equipment supplied by your employer.

You may have been provided with a mobile phone, tablet, computer or laptop by your employer for work purposes that can be used for personal reasons, including accessing your social media.
Despite being able to use your work equipment or devices, you need to keep in mind that your employer can monitor your web traffic on their network and/or your use of their equipment.

Also, another way employers have become aware of a person’s conduct on social media is by employees not logging out of their social media accounts. Majority of the social media platforms allows the program to remember your login details, which is a convenient tool as you don’t have to login every time you access your social media accounts. However, your employer has the right to access your work computer or device as it is their property. If you have remained logged in to your social media, your employer may be able to view your social media activity.

The best way to avoid disciplinary action is to not use the devices provided by your employer to access your social media.

Also, the accessing of your personal social media accounts using work supplied equipment could be in breach of your employer’s policies. So, make sure that you familiarise yourself with those policies.

2. Don’t post on social media if you’re having a ‘sickie’.

Another good tip is don’t post on your social media, or be tagged in a post, that shows you having them time of your life when you have taken a ‘sick day’.

The purpose of personal/carer’s leave is for when you, an immediate family member or a member of your household is sick or injured. So, if your employer becomes aware that you weren’t actually ‘sick’ or ‘injured’ by observing through your social media that you were somewhere having a good time when you had called in sick, then your employer may take disciplinary action against you due to the personal/carer’s leave not being genuine.

3. Don’t access your social media during work hours, unless it is actually part of your job.

Depending on the type of job you have, you may be required to access and use social media. However, if your role doesn’t actually require you to use social media, we suggest that you don’t access your personal social media during work hours.

Accessing your personal social media during work hours is not considered to be ‘work’ and such conduct may be in breach of your employer’s policies, which could lead to you being subject to disciplinary action.

4. Don’t send your work colleagues pornographic material through your social media, or at all!

The Fair Work Commission has found that the sending of pornographic material to other employees through social media outside of work hours is a valid reason for terminating a person’s employment.

The forwarding of pornographic material to your work colleagues through your social media or by other means can be considered as a connection to your employment, especially if the recipient finds the material to be offensive or they feel that they are being sexually harassed.

Keep in mind that if you engage in conduct towards another employee that is outside the workplace, which materially affects or has the potential to materially affect a person’s employment, including the sending of offensive material, then this is something that may draw your employer’s attention, be in breach of your employer’s policies, be considered potential sexual harassment, and result in disciplinary action being taken against you.

If you have any questions or require advice in relation to social media and your employment, please contact Anderson Gray Lawyers on 1300 851 430 to speak with one of our employment lawyers.

Social Media at Work

Social Media and Your Employment: How to Avoid Disciplinary Action – Part 1

By | Bullying & Harassment

We live in a world where our main form of communication is through social media, whether it be through Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, LinkedIn and more recently TikTok.

Unfortunately, what you post, comment or share on social media can have an impact on your employment and can lead to your employer taking disciplinary action against you, including terminating your employment.

To help you avoid disciplinary action, we have prepared a two part articles providing some tips that every employee should adopt in relation to their social media activity.  Here are the first four tips.

1. Don’t post offensive, derogatory or defamatory material about your employment on social media.

We all have those tough days at work and all you want to do is to vent your frustrations on social media or make a ‘joke’ about your workplace or a work colleague. The best tip that we can give you is ‘don’t do it’.

Unfortunately, when it comes to social media and your employment, you aren’t able to say what you want, even if your social media posts were made outside of work hours, at home or by using your personal device.

Your employer can take disciplinary action if your social media activity:

  • is offensive, derogatory or defamatory about the company, management, work colleagues or their clients/customers;
  • causes or is likely to cause damage to the employment relationship;
  • damages the relationship between yourself and other employees;
  • is damaging to the company’s interests; or
  • is incompatible with your duties as an employee.

Also, making disparaging comments about other work colleagues, whether jokingly or not, could amount to bullying and harassment and result in your employer commencing disciplinary action against you.

If your employer has a social media and/or bullying and harassment policy, ensure you familiarise yourself with those policies to ensure that your conduct on social media is not in breach of those policies. Even if your employer doesn’t have such policies in place, still err on the side of caution, as your conduct may be of such a serious nature that the lack of policies is of no consequence.

2. Don’t identify yourself as an employee of the company on your social media or posts.

Employers are increasingly wanting to protect their brand and reputation. So, your comments on social media may not be in line with your employer’s values and culture of their business. The main link between your employment and potential harm to your employer’s reputation, is whether your employer can be reasonably identified through your social media or posts.

There are multiple ways that an employer can be identified. The most obvious is listing your employer as the company that you are employed by on your social media. Other ways include publishing posts naming your employer or posting photos displaying your employer’s logo or signage.

So if your employer is able to be identified and you publish inappropriate comments or material on your social media that can cause damage to your employer’s reputation and/or the employment relationship, then you could be subject to disciplinary action.

3. Don’t add people that you work with to your social media.

Social media allows work colleagues to connect and get a better insight to their personal lives. However, in our experience, one of the main ways an employer has become aware of a person’s conduct on social media is because their work colleagues have reported them to management.

If other employees do follow you on social media, then be mindful of the content that you post about your work and your workplace.

If you are considering adding work colleagues to your social media, we suggest that you review your social media content and identify if it is generally work-related or personal.

4. Ensure that your social media settings are set to ‘private’.

Another way that employers become aware of an employee’s conduct on social media is when their social media accounts are publicly accessible. So, to ensure that people who do not follow you can’t access your social media, change your settings to ‘private’.

Though, despite the perception being that your social media is ‘private’ there are ways in which your social media can become accessible to your employer. For instance, ‘tagging’ one or more of your work colleagues in a post, which can then be accessed by those people’s friends or followers, which may include management. So be mindful that ‘private’ is not necessarily ‘private’ on social media.

Look out for Part 2 of this article coming soon with another four critical tips to ensure your social media activity doesn’t get you into hot water at work.

If you have any questions or require advice in relation to social media and your employment, please contact Anderson Gray Lawyers on 1300 851 430 to speak with one of our employment lawyers.