Its no surprise to us that businesses and co-workers look at employee’s posts on social media. But just how much of a look should they be taking? This Article by the Huffington Post from 2015, describes a 27 year-old woman who lost her job at a day care by posting: “I just hate being around a lot of kids”. Now, as this post may not have been wise considering this woman was working with children on a daily basis, did it still warrant her being fired?
This is all too often a situation where someone posts something they believe to be harmless on Facebook or some other social media about their job and they end up being fired. But is this an overreach of the company?
I have to say it is not. I know that social media was designed to keep friends and peers in close contact and give them a platform to express their ideas and communicate with one another. But Facebook and other social media sites are (for the most part) public records of an individual. Just as someone would be held accountable for their actions or words in public, the same holds true for how they act online. In the case of the 27 year-old daycare employee, she also posted that she, “hates working at a daycare”. I think she wouldn’t say anything like that if it was a face-to-face encounter with her entire Facebook audience. Posting on Facebook is like giving a presentation in a lecture hall and the audience is everyone that can see your posts. In this woman’s case, her profile was public and her post started to get a lot of negative reactions from people who knew she was a daycare employee. This is ultimately how she ended up being fired by her job.
If you think about my analogy (the presenter in the lecture hall), you will understand where I base my argument. Social media is a platform to which an individual projects himself or herself online. I don’t think that it is an overstepping of boundaries when a business evaluates their employees on their posts and how they represent themselves online. We all evaluate other based on how they represent themselves online (Trump, Kanye, Bernie). Its something that, as humans, we cant help. We are constantly judging and making assumptions based on the information we are given. So if someone is posting something negative about their job, we will have a negative opinion of that job/occupation, which is potentially detrimental to the business itself.