Another Day, Another Employee Fired for Online Behavior
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it, again: Be careful of what you post online! It can come back to haunt you. This may seem like common knowledge, but these stories just keep popping up.
Jofi Joseph, who previously was the director of nuclear nonproliferation on the National Security Council, was recently fired for being outed as a “Twitter troll”, tweeting various statements that were critical or various government officials along the White House administration. It’s bad enough when your employer is a business, but when you work for an entity that has vast resources to track you down (think NSA), you might want to think twice about that negative comment you’re preparing to post to the rest of the world.
This isn’t the first time I’ve brought up cases where employees have been fired for their behavior online (see The Privacy Blur of Personal Information or “You’re fired!” – Did You Criticize Your Boss on the Web?).
There’s still an ongoing debate about what you should or should not be able to say about your employer, especially when you’re “off the clock”. I’ve heard people state that what you say or post outside of business hours is your 1st Amendment right. What I tend to tell those same individuals is that most businesses have a right, too: they can fire you for any reason. What most people forget about in these situations is that most businesses here in America practice at-will employment. It means they can fire you at any time for almost any reason (any type of discrimination is a definite no-no).
You don’t even have to post anything critical of your employer online to find yourself in hot water. Maybe you posted a photo to Instagram showing how you’re “kind of a big deal” from a party from the night before. Or, maybe you’re trash-talking on some sports news column about why your team crushed the opponents. Either of these could find yourself handing in your resignation if your employer deems it necessary. Hopefully, it wouldn’t come to that, but there is always that possibility.
What a lot of us fail to realize is that we are representatives for the companies we work for both inside and outside of work. Our actions have the potential to leave blemishes and/or affect the creditability of those who employ us. For example, if you work as a street sweeper, but someone snaps a photo of you dumping trash on the side of the road and posts that picture online, that’s going to look extremely bad on your employer.
Watch what you do in the off-hours, especially if you’re doing something online. It might not affect you, now, but the internet is an ever-growing history book. What you do now could come back to bite you down the line.
Do you know of anyone who ever did anything outside of work that landed them in the hot seat at work? Leave your comments!