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How social media can be trouble for employees

Most people are familiar with the Miranda warning “what you say can be used against you in a court of law” because of crime drama shows like “Law & Order.” However, they may not realize that the same concept applies when it comes to wrongful termination or employment discrimination. This means that email transmissions and more importantly, social media posts can become discoverable evidence in litigation.

So what does that mean for potential plaintiffs who may sue their employers after being terminated or denied a promotion? It essentially means that you must watch what you say and when you say it. Like other cases, such as divorces and criminal matters, investigators can comb through email records to find messages that you may have developed and sent, even if you believe that you have deleted them from your box. 

The same can be said with statements made over social media sites. Posts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are basically public record, which, more importantly, show when the posts were made. If they are made during work hours, they may negatively affect your case. After all, employers want their employees doing their assigned tasks during work hours, and combing through Facebook can leave the appearance that an employee is goofing off instead of working. This may not sit well with a judge or arbitrator, regardless of how meritorious your claim may be.

While people may spend a majority of their waking hours at work, it is important to realize the correct times to spend time on social media sites. 

Source: “How Facebook can get you terminated and keep you terminated,” Don McNay, Feb. 26, 2014

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