Status Update: Joe thinks his boss is an idiot!

by Joe Lavelle on April 11, 2011

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It’s understandable . . . everyone needs to blow off some steam about their job in general or their boss specifically once in a while.  You can vent to your spouse at the dinner table or maybe have a phone conversation with a trusted friend after a particularly hard day at the office.  But, think twice before making the decision to share your feelings with the vast, public world of Facebook and Twitter.  You may find yourself without a job to complain about.

A recent article with the straightforward title of “Your employer wants you to shut your big cybermouth!” points to the growing number of instances in which workers are being fired as a result of their online activity.  From complaining about your supervisor through a “tweet” to being caught complaining about your newest client on a cell phone video that gets posted on YouTube to using your work account for some questionable personal activity, employers are cracking down on private online activity.

In the courts, employees who lost their jobs are arguing that expressing frustration on sites such as Facebook is a matter of free speech, and infringing on these social networking accounts is a hit on our right to privacy.  However, interpretation of the law as it applies to cyberspace and other technology is still in its infancy and it appears that the courts are tending to favor the corporations and employers that are placing these restrictions on their workers’ online activity.

To what extent do you think employees need to use discretion when discussing their jobs through social media?  While probably not the best way to argue that you deserve a promotion, should employees be fired for speaking out against their bosses in a public forum?  Or, if the quality of work performance isn’t compromised, should people be allowed this outlet for sharing frustrations?


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