Fired for Facebook Posts

October is National Cyber Safety Awareness Month, however we also should take caution to what we are posting online – and this may be the reminder we need.

You posted what?!
As we live more of our lives online, social media has become the new water cooler for employees to discuss working conditions. On one hand, employers have the fear of disgruntled employees doing some serious brand damage online. On the other, they have the risk of being sued for violating federal law.

FIRED-FOR-FACEBOOK
Source: Online Paralegal Programs

Everybody’s Online: At Least Almost Everybody

7 in 10
Adult Internet users who use social networking sites
The younger the worker, the more likely they use social media:
Percentage of social media use by age group
18-29 83%
30-49 77%
50-64 52%
65+ 32%
15½ hours
Average amount of time spent per month on Facebook
1 in 4
Facebook users who don’t manage their privacy settings
6 in 10
Workers who say they are unsatisfied with their jobs
What does all of this mean? That you probably use Facebook or other forms of social media, and you use it a lot. It also means you’ve probably got some things to gripe about once you get home from work. It’s not a leap to say it’s at least tempting to unload your job dissatisfaction on social media. But be careful …

What the Law Says

What about free speech, you ask? The First Amendment protects you from legal consequences of protected speech, but it doesn’t mean you are immune from all negative effects. You would probably expect to be fired—or at least reprimanded—if you insulted your boss to her face, so you should expect it if you do so online and the wrong person finds out.
But laws vary by state, as more lawmakers are recognizing and protecting the rights of employees in their off-the-clock communications. Generally speaking, an employer can intervene when:

  • An employee posts during work hours
  • An employee’s posts endanger the company (such as by revealing confidential information)

The National Labor Relations Board has ruled that employers cannot fire workers acting with other employees to initiate a group action against a perceived injustice by their employer.

It’s Happening Everywhere

Here’s just a sampling of the stories of workers who were fired for what they said in social media:
Where: London, Buckingham Palace
Who: Palace guard
Why: The 18-year-old guard slammed Kate Middleton in a Facebook post

Where: O’Hare Airport, Chicago
Who: TSA baggage screener
Why: The nine-year TSA veteran repeatedly went on racist and homophobic rants publicly on Facebook

Where: Rhode Island
Who: Physician
Why: A 48-year-old doctor at a hospital posted information about an emergency room patient

Where: Arkansas
Who: Police officer
Why: The office posted a warning to residents not to drink and drive; his supervisor said the post compromised a planned DUI checkpoint

Where: Michigan
Who: Community college professor
Why: The professor used the story of a failing student in a status update

Where: Massachusetts
Who: Firefighter/paramedic
Why: Posting negative things about gays, mentally challenged people, public officials and others who disagreed with him

Where: Grand Rapids, Michigan
Who: Several hospital employees
Why: A worker snapped a photo of a woman he thought was attractive and shared it on Facebook; he was fired and so were his coworkers who “liked” the photo

Where: Chicago
Who: Bartender
Why: Making racist comments that soon went viral

Not Fired — Not Even Hired
The other part of this equation is making sure your online persona is clean to begin with, because potential employers are watching.
3 in 4
Recruiters required to conduct online research on candidates
70%
Recruiters who have rejected candidates based on online investigations
What employers are looking for:
65% Does the candidate present himself or herself professionally?
51% Is the candidate a good fit for company culture?
51% Want to learn more about qualifications
35% Is the candidate well-rounded
12% Reasons not to hire the candidate

SOURCES
http://pewinternet.org
http://www.statisticbrain.com
http://blog.bufferapp.com
http://www.huffingtonpost.com
http://www.wzzm13.com
http://college.monster.com
http://thenextweb.com

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Identity Theft: No One is Immune from Being a Victim of It – Learn to Secure Your Digital Footprint

IDTheftIdentity theft has become an increasing problem as our world shifts to being more online and mobile. Many people feel like there is no way to keep their information safe should someone want to steal it. Is this the case, or are there things that you can do to make your information harder to steal?

These 18 blog entries touch on what you can do to protect your identity online, at work and when you are out and about living your life. The press is doing an admirable job of bringing scams to light so that the public can be better informed and thus better able to protect sensitive information.

To learn what you need to know to keep your personal information safe, keep reading.

Online

With more and more people shopping and banking online, keeping your information safe from thieves becomes both more important and more difficult. Avoid common or easy to guess passwords, as many times you are making the thief’s job easier. For more online safety tips, take a look at these six blog posts.

At Work

While your employer likely has their own security measures in place, you still need to make sure that you are keeping your personal information safe from hackers or other co-workers. When you go to a meeting make sure that your desk and computer are locked. Don’t get your personal e-mail on your work computer, as that information can stay in that computer, even if you delete it. To learn more important safeguards, read these six blog articles.

Out and About

If you pay for your gas and other snacks with a credit card that you can tap and go, you may want to stop using it. While it’s a convenient way to pay for things, it’s also an easy way for a thief to pick up the credit card number at the same time. When you are out for dinner and you pay the bill by sending your credit card with the waiter, you may want to keep an eye on him. Specialized equipment designed to steal credit card numbers in a hurry have been found in various restaurants. Check out these six blog articles and learn more about identity theft scams going on today and how to avoid becoming a victim.

Source: Nanny Website

How Safe Is Your PIN?

How Safe Is Your PIN?
Compiled by: BackgroundCheck.org

Protecting Your Internet Identity Book is Here!

It’s finally here!  Isn’t it time you protect you and your family’s Internet identity?

By Ted Claypoole and Theresa Payton

Who is looking at you online?

 The government, your neighbors, employers, friends – the short answer is EVERYONE.  This book is a handy guide that digs deep past the media headlines to tell you how your data is collected and used.  The author’s provide practical tips on how to regain control of your internet persona while also fending off identity thieves and other cybersnoops.
And, for those with kids in their lives, Chapter 9 is dedicated to digital natives – the generation born into our digital age that cannot imagine life without instant access to info!
Chapter 6 gives pointers on internet impersonation:
The Face of Online Impersonation
Internet image impersonation is easy to do. Anyone can open a free email account with Yahoo!, Hotmail, Google, or any other email provider and use your name. Setting up a social media account on social networking sites such as Facebook or MySpace is equally simple. With a little information about your life, your impersonator could even fool those people closest to you.
Unfortunately, it can be very difficult to remove these accounts from the Internet. Most Online companies assume that an account is opened in good faith, and you will probably have to prove the damage was done by an imposter (and prove that the imposter is not simply another person who happens to have the same name), before a site such as Yahoo! or Facebook would consider closing an active account.
We have a 6 question quiz for victims of internet defamation; here is question #1:  
Do You Have The Facts to Support a U.S. Lawsuit to Protect Your Online Image?
1)    If someone has written unflatteringly about you online, were those comments
a)    False;
b)    Intentionally malicious or made with a reckless disregard for the harm they might cause;
c)     Harmful;
d)    Not stated in a formally privileged way, such as filed legal pleadings;
e)     All of the above?
Order today on Amazon!
Follow Theresa Payton on Twitter.