A few years into the widespread use of Social media has taught many, employees and business leaders alike, that what is said on social networksabout one’s company, can get one fired. Instances of
bad social media etiquette have been made famous by two different issues in recent news, as well as past cases that did not receive as much media coverage, or put up the same fight.
Social Media Blunders
Many stories have been passed around the social media networks about those who have lost their jobs due to errant tweets or unacceptable sharing.
- Caitlin Davis, a New England Patriots cheerleader, was fired because of questionable photos posted to her Facebook account.
- Thirteen crewmembers of Virgin Atlantic were terminated for participating in a Facebook discussion that made jokes about topics such as faulty machinery, rumors of cockroaches on board, and general jokes about whiney passengers.
- Connor Riley divulged in a tweet that she would hate the job she had applied for at Cisco Systems, but would very much relish the ‘fatty paycheck’. Not long afterwards, she received a reply to her tweet. “Who was your hiring manager? I will be sure to let them know that you will hate the work. We at Cisco are well versed in the web.” She did not get the job.
Recent News in Social Media Acceptable Use Policy (AUP)
Recently, a decision by a judge in New York may have begun a sway in the other direction when it comes to how users, and companies, are protected on social networks.
The case in question was due to five employees of National Hispanics of Buffalo who openly complained about their place of employment on Facebook. They quickly found themselves jobless. After an appeal to the National Labor Relations Board, or the NLRB, and the sitting judge, Arthur Amchan, ordered that the five fired over their Facebook comments, go back to work, and receive pay for their forced time off.
What This Means for Your Business
In the final judgment rendered by Judge Amchan, the discussion amongst the employees was ruled to be a “protected concerted activity.” This is an overall win for the freedom of speech, but as a business owner, you also have the right to protect your reputation.
Protect your company by updating your AUP to designate exactly what you, as an employer, will find to be unacceptable mentions, breach of contract, or unacceptable confidentiality violations. Be sure to have the social media marketing department of your business review AUPs every three months or so, as well as keep up with trending news so that your AUP policy protects your business the most, without violating legislation that could cause potential damage to your social media influence.