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Social Media in the Workplace

January 25, 2021 4:11 pm

Employees can jeopardise their employment through electronic communications like social media such as Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram and more.

It is important to know your rights around social media and your workplace. Each workplace is different. Social media is a fast-moving technology so it is important to ensure your employer updates its social media policy often and all use of social media by employees should be mindful.

What are some of the ways your use of social media can impact your employment?
Employees have found themselves being suspended, disciplined and even dismissed by their employers where;
• they have made disparaging comments about their co-workers or the company.
• they are caught lying about their true whereabouts e.g., when on sick leave but photos posted online showing ‘out and about’ having fun.
• Employers can use personal information available online and use that as basis for not hiring for a particular job applied for.

In O’Keefe v Williams Muir’s Pty Ltd T/A Troy Williams The Good Guys [2011] FWA 5311 (Swan DP, 11 August 2011), the employee made negative and threating comments about a colleague on Facebook – Held – valid dismissal.

Does your workplace have a social media policy?
– If your workplace has a social media policy, it may be used to discipline or dismiss employees if they are in breach of a term of the policy.

What are employees’ rights?
– Do not identify your employer, company, names of colleagues or supervisor in a post or comment online
– Familiarise yourself with your social media policy (if there is one in your workplace)
– Refuse to give consent to share passwords to the personal social media page
– Contact your Union Organiser when a situation arises where your social media actions are being questioned
– Make use of your ‘privacy settings’
– Claim unfair, harsh or unjustified dismissal if the dismissal is not justified.

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