POP QUIZ: Which of the following can you get fired for?
- Hanging political cartoons on your office wall
- Having a Trump bumper sticker
- Writing a blog about your views on a campaign (oops)
- All of the above
The answer is 4! If you’re a non-union private employee, your boss pretty much has the right to control your political actions. For the approximately 85% of the work force that is private employees, the first amendment offers no protection from being fired for something you said/posted. But how does something you post affect your boss, job, or company you work for so much that it constitutes getting kicked to the curb?
In “Yes, You Should Get Fired For That,” Suzanne Lucas explains that bad judgement is not only limited to online behavior! Companies need employees they can trust, so why would they wish to keep employees who, for example, express on Facebook about an incident with their boss. If you do not get along with your boss, and you are bold enough to post it on social media, you should understand that the internet is not private and there is a good chance they will see it. You can’t really blame them for firing someone who posts negatively on social media about them! As for dealing with the irritation of conflicting political views in the workplace, termination on the grounds of this makes sense. A company wants employees that identify with them and have the same goals, so conflicting views does not benefit the company in any way. There are plenty of people who may identify with the company better than you can, and from a business perspective, this is appropriate grounds for termination.
Lucas also goes on to explain that employers should be able to presume loyalty. By this, she means that employers should be able to trust that employees will not post information online that will harm the company. From the employer’s point of view, if you applied for the job, it should mean you want the job, and if you want the job, why would you post negatively about it? This, again, is grounds for firing. If you are not loyal to the company, there is a good chance someone else would be.
My final thought on this issue is that employers and employees need to be cautious when approaching social media at work. If you are not protected, understand that there are grounds (and great possibility) for termination.