Social Notworking

, , , , , | Working | September 12, 2017

(One of my coworkers was recently let go for defamatory public statements she made about our company on her very public social media account. We have a social media policy in which we agree not to discuss our workplace or coworkers in a negative way via social media. To take this further, after my coworker is fired, our supervisors come around and require us to add them on social media, so they can “monitor” for breaches of policy. I am uncomfortable with this, as I am a VERY private person and only have a social media account in order for out-of-state relatives to be able to keep up with my kids, as both of my parents and all my siblings live in different states.)

Boss: “I need you to review the social media policy again, and re-sign that you agree to the terms. You will also need to add me on [Popular Social Media Site].”

Me: “I completely agree with the social media policy, and I never discuss my work or my coworkers on social media. However, I am not comfortable with adding you to my social media. It has photos and posts about my children, and I have not worked here or known you long enough to give you access to my private life.”

Boss: “If you don’t add me, then we will consider it an act of insubordination, and you will be subject to further action, up to and including termination.”

Me: “You are free to do whatever you feel is necessary; however, I would like to point out that should you terminate my employment you would be opening [Company] up to a lawsuit.”

Boss: “It is perfectly legal for us to monitor our employees’ social media accounts and take action based on posts that may negatively affect our business!”

Me: “It is legal for you to monitor your employees’ public social media posts. It’s even legal to monitor our company computers and read messages and posts that may have been made from them, as that’s considered company property, and we have no reasonable expectation of privacy. However, it is not legal in this state to force your employees to give up their own right to privacy as a condition of employment. Given that we have two lawyers on staff, I’m very surprised that this was considered a legal and ethical idea. I’m not adding you to [Social Media].”

Boss: *goes white* “…you know, [My Name], I believe that you aren’t posting anything bad about [Company]. I think signing this is enough. You don’t have to add me.”

(It turns out, it was my supervisors idea and it was never vetted by the legal team! As soon as they heard about it, he was written up, and no one had to add their respective bosses!)

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