Employers Using Social Media To Fire Employees Face Legal Challenges

Facebook gaffes that can cause trouble in the workplace aren’t unique to drunken college students anymore. As more companies and their workers tap into the world of blogs, Twitter and Facebook, employers are tripping over legal potholes in social media.

Next week a National Labor Relations Board judge will consider whether a medical-transportation company illegally fired a worker after she criticized her boss on Facebook, in the federal agency’s first complaint linked to social media.

In another case, workers sued a restaurant company when they were dismissed after managers accessed a private Myspace page the employees set up to chat about work.

Ashley Payne claims she lost her job because of Facebook postings, with an innocent vacation photo holding a glass of wine.

Job seekers and employees have long been warned that risqué revelations on Facebook can jeopardize career prospects. But now companies are facing their own challenges for alleged blunders in dealing with social media.

The intersection of social media and the office is a potential minefield. Even when a company prevails in such legal actions, there are reputational risks. The company can become a poster child for a particular type of employment claim, and have a negative association with social media workplace employment regulations.

Read more about the questionable use of Facebook and other social media websites to fire employees and make human resources decisions here.

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