Vincy Workplace
July 12, 2013

Bosses who check your Facebook postings

Does your boss have the right to reprimand you for your Facebook postings?

Social media platforms, particularly Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram, have transformed the way we live and interact with each other. If I need to know what is happening in SVG, I just log onto Facebook and read the posts of my Facebook friends.{{more}} As I scan status updates, I usually get a lot more than SVG updates. I am no longer amazed at what I see and read on Facebook: from politics to pictures, social happenings, personal drama, too many young girls posting soft pornographic pictures of themselves and young men glorifying the thug life. That said, regardless of what is on your Facebook page, does your boss have the right to visit your page and reprimand you for the kinds of postings you have?

If you look globally, countries are now beginning to put laws in place that govern social media interaction, but

St Vincent and the Grenadines, like many countries, has not broached the topic yet, so it’s a free-for-all. Before you decide if your boss has that right, let’s consider a few points.

Nothing is private. Absolutely nothing is private online, even when we think it is. If hackers can break into global banks, your little social media account is a cakewalk. Therefore, whether it’s pictures or documents, think twice before posting.

There is no erase button.

Although we erase content that we post, the Internet does not have a way to permanently delete anything. Even when we delete an item, it is still stored and with a little diligence anything can be retrieved. If you are not sure, do not post.

Check the law and the company policy.

Before you decide if your boss has that right, check your country’s laws. Grenada just passed a strict law that carries jail time of three years and fines of $37,000 for persons who post “offensive online comments,” and other islands are looking to design their own laws. Even though the country may not have a law, the company you work for may have a written social media policy that you may have agreed to when you were hired. In the USA, it is now common practice for employers to visit your social media pages during the interview process, and what they see does influence their hiring decisions. In some states, it’s legal for those companies to ask for passwords to your accounts or ask you to view the pages in their presence. Will you be embarrassed at what they find?

You shed a bad light on the company.

If your pictures, discussions and other postings shed a negative light on you as an employee of a particular company, then the company can decide how to handle that. Do a quick Google search and you will find quite a few individuals who even lost their jobs because of online postings. One TV anchor lost her job because of an old YouTube video where she made derogatory comments. Even though the video was made when she was a teen, she was still fired.

You slander another employee.

If you use any social media platform to slander another employee, then your supervisor could decide to step in. In fact, there are global court cases already decided that clearly send a message for people to refrain from taking work matters and discussing them in online forums, especially when it’s done in a negative way.

You use company equipment and time.

If you are posting when you are at work using company equipment, then you are fair game. Even if you use your phone, if you are supposed to be working, you are violating much more than a social media policy.

Don’t friend your supervisor.

Even if you have a good relationship with your supervisor, don’t friend them on your Facebook or other online platforms. Although difficult, try to leave a clear line between your personal and professional life but, most importantly, keep your postings clean and drama free.

Even though you may be on your own personal time, just remember you are being watched. All it takes is someone with a phone video camera and you in a compromising situation, and you could be a Facebook/YouTube global star in a matter of minutes for all the wrong reasons.

Karen Hinds is “The Workplace Success Expert.” For a FREE SPECIAL REPORT on Avoiding Career Killers in the Workplace, send an email to
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