Social media has become a global phenomenon. For many people, it’s difficult to remember a time when social media was not a prevalent part of life. While most individuals use social media to stay in touch with friends and family — or to follow politics, sports and entertainment news — many use these online platforms as a way to express their opinions on various topics.
However, in doing so, many employees are not mindful that social media posts are in the public domain and that employers can use these posts for various reasons. Many companies have established social media standards of conduct, which outline statements and activities which could result in an employee being disciplined even if they are done outside the scope of employment. These include making offensive, derogatory or defamatory comments, or engaging in cyber bullying or conduct that incites violence.
Not only could an employee be disciplined for social media posts that violate company policy, but if the employee asserts a claim against the employer, online posts also can be used as evidence in litigation involving the employee. Social media posts have been used in litigation as evidence of when employees were actually working or as evidence of how employees may characterize their duties with the employer outside of the context of the litigation. Additionally, social media posts have been used as evidence of an employee’s feelings toward their employer or as evidence of alleged employee misconduct.
An employer can obtain social media posts by simply gaining access to screenshots of the postings or requesting them in discovery in litigation if the court determines they are relevant. Because of the nature of the employer and employee relationship, it is recommended that employees keep work-related social media postings to a minimum.
Shavitz Law Group is here to help. If you have questions about the use of social media evidence in employment cases, contact Shavitz Law Group at (800) 616-4000 or visit us at www.shavitzlaw.com for a free, no obligation review of your circumstances and consultation regarding your rights.
Gregg Shavitz, Shavitz Law Group, 951 Yamato Rd Ste 285, Boca Raton, FL and 800 3rd Ave, Suite 2800, New York, NY. Lawyers licensed in states including FL, NY, NJ, and TX. The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based on advertisements alone.