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Could you be fired for a Facebook post? Many employees and employers alike are wondering just what rights employees have when it comes to social media. It’s no surprise that employees are often engaging with sites like Facebook and Twitter while at work, and are sometimes posting about their workplace after hours. Additionally, 40% of companies now use social media sites to research their job candidates.

What rights do employees have when it comes to the world of quick communication, in relation to the workplace? Here are a few established legal precedents you should keep in mind.

1. Employee Laws and Facebook Posts

There is some protection for what employees might say about their employers online thanks to the National Labor Relation Act’s rules which cover freedom of speech. NLRA recognizes that social media is different from what someone would say “in person.” However, employees have had little protection when it comes to having a bad attitude toward customers and venting that on social media.

2. You Can be Terminated If…

If your company has a lawful policy regarding social media, then your rights may not be protected in this case. Employers, for example, can have a policy restricting the amount of company time you spend on non-work activities (like accessing social media). Additionally, you do not have a right to post comments that count as libel or slander. Confidential company information is also not protected. Not to mention that even if you’re technically “right,” suing an employer can often be a long road to go down, and you might be better off publishing under a pseudonym, or not at all.

3. The Legal Battlefield is Constantly Shifting

If you’re planning on hiring wrongful termination lawyers to represent your social media case, their guess as to the legality of your situation might be as good as yours. In one case, a sheriff in Hampton, Virginia, fired six employees after they “liked” the Facebook page of an opposing individual running for sheriff. The case went to court and the judge ruled that the employees were not covered under employee laws of free speech protection. A year later, though, the appellate reversed that decision, and the case is going forward again.

Have you heard of any wrongful dismissal cases involving social media? Let us know in the comments. For more information see this.

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