As an experienced White Plains Employment Attorney, I am often asked by clients about social networking. Today a lot of employees have social media accounts, they often will post things on sites like Facebook and LinkedIn, Twitter. This can impact their employer, and they don’t always recognize the ramifications of posting something like that. There is a common misconception that what you post and classify as private or for friends only is limited to that audience and it’s not the case. Once something is posted on social media it’s also almost irretrievable so even if there is some dispute of whether the post went up, there are measures that the employer can take and subsequent case to subpoena records or try and access information to try and prove the post was up. One of the things that employees have to be incongruous with is the fact what they say on their websites about this employer is often improperly perceived by the people who read it. That could be detrimental to the name and reputation of the employer. So on the one hand you have the employees rights to of course speak up about things that they are interested in, discussing either in the public or with friends. You have to balance that with the right of the employer to try to balance the integrity of its operations.
Often times you will find that employers have very strict policies on social media and the use of social media which can be identified to a particular employer and those policies are being upheld in cases subsequent to where the posts have been made. Questions arise as to whether that is a terminable offense. Also, what comes to play a lot of times is the first amendment and that covers your right to free speech, free press and the issue becomes whether what happened in connection to some type of employment action is even covered by the first amendment. Although the first amendment is out there, the court has interpreted the employment environment to be very restrictive and the issue with the first amendment is always whether a state actor, which means a governmental employer only took action against you as a result of something that you said that was actually protected. The courts always interpret what’s actually protected as a very gray area and in order to determine whether there is a violation of law that either the employer engaged in or maybe the employee overstepped his or her bounds. The balancing of interest has to be looked at and also a series of cases which will help always attorneys in determining whether there is an actionable violation.
Did you get fired based off something you posted on a social networking site? If so, contact the experienced White Plains Employment Attorney Kim Berg.
This informational blog post was provided by Kim Berg, an experienced New York Attorney for Employees.