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Social media - is my employer really allowed to do this?

(83 Posts)
Cydonia Tue 19-Mar-19 21:28:17

I’ve got myself into trouble at work for commenting on a Facebook post which was then shown to management who took a dim view of my comments. Personally I don’t really see the problem, they were only very mildly critical of the company and it wasn’t obvious that I worked for them. Anyway, I have to have a meeting to discuss my breach of the social media policy. I’ve never seen this, so thought I’d better familiarise myself.
I was a bit shocked to find this -
“ The organisation reserves the right to monitor employees’ internet usage, but will endeavour to inform an employee when this is to happen and the reasons for it. “ It goes on to say what they consider valid reasons for this, and then that they reserve the right to retain any information for a period of one year?
Can they honestly do this?! Bearing in mind I wasn’t using a work computer, or even at work at the time. Just seems very controlling.

VelvetPineapple Tue 19-Mar-19 21:30:10

Yes they can. Who has shown them it? They’re no friend of yours. Block them. And don’t add colleagues on Facebook.

babysharkah Tue 19-Mar-19 21:38:12

Yes they can.

Mildly derogatory comments about your employer on SM? I'd learn your lesson in this one and don't say anything else about the company no matter what you actually think.

Cydonia Tue 19-Mar-19 21:41:16

Ugh, what’s the world coming to?!
I don’t know who it was. There is a chance it wasn’t a colleague. The post I commented on was public, I guess someone could have looked me up from that and found out where I work. Either way it’s a bit shit. I’ve removed all the personal info from my profile now, but I don’t think a lot of it was visible to non friends anyway.

Cydonia Tue 19-Mar-19 21:43:47

It’s hard to explain exactly without outing myself ( and getting into more trouble! ) but it really wasn’t that bad. I have learned my lesson, just feel a bit sad that you’re not allowed an opinion anymore and the control your employer can have over your personal life.

Bunnybigears Tue 19-Mar-19 21:44:52

I thought it was understood by most now that you shouldn't make comments about the company you work for on social media? Unless you are already on your way down the disciplinary route you will probably keep your job but it was a very silly thing to do. The general rule of thumb is if you wouldn't say it to your employers face dont say it on social media.

Cydonia Tue 19-Mar-19 21:48:15

I would say it to their face tbh.

LovingLola Tue 19-Mar-19 21:48:15

just feel a bit sad that you’re not allowed an opinion anymore and the control your employer can have over your personal life.

Nobody is stopping you having an opinion. However you need to understand that posting your opinions about your employer on social media is not exactly an intelligent thing to do...

Cydonia Tue 19-Mar-19 21:50:01

Ok, I’m not an idiot thank you. I just can’t explain the exact circumstances on here.

Anothertempusername Tue 19-Mar-19 21:50:04

I know of people who have lost their jobs over very mild defamatory / critical posts on social media about their companies. Most companies social media policies are shit hot on this stuff.

CaseofEllen Tue 19-Mar-19 21:50:39

@Cydonia have you ever been shown the Social Media Policy by your manager/supervisor/boss? Or shown where to find it and told to read it?

justforthisnow Tue 19-Mar-19 21:51:39

Of course you are allowed an opinion, although you should have been aware of the policy.
Where I work, everyone"s personal Twitter has "Views my own".
Cos we've read the policies. If you feel the need to crit your own company, in whatever context, then you need to 1) find an acceptable way to constructively criticise them or
2) find other employment.

Totaldogsbody Tue 19-Mar-19 21:52:38

Firms often do this, they dont want employees disparaging their products or firm its not good for business. My employers require us to read and sign a yearly statement stating that we won't criticise the firm on social media . I agree with Velvetpineapple whoever showed them your post is no friend of yours, watch your back.

Cydonia Tue 19-Mar-19 21:52:47

No, I have never been told about it until now.

justforthisnow Tue 19-Mar-19 21:55:23

Are you sure you were not emailed or sent these policies on initial employment? All new employees are shown these policies where I work, and actually have to sign the IT one. Which includes social media, internet use, etc.

ny20005 Tue 19-Mar-19 21:56:03

Of course you are not allowed an opinion on who you work for on a public forum !

I'm not allowed to mention who I work for on any social media platform never mind comment on any public platforms about my employer

justforthisnow Tue 19-Mar-19 21:57:06

I sound like I am interrogating you, sorry. Just asking what you saw, signed, understood re IT use. If you weren't aware, they are on the backfoot.

LovingLola Tue 19-Mar-19 21:57:13

Were you given an employee handbook or other information when you started? You say you decided to familiarise yourself with your employer’s social media policy. Where did you find out about it ?

BoomTish Tue 19-Mar-19 21:57:19

just feel a bit sad that you’re not allowed an opinion anymore and the control your employer can have over your personal life

On a night out, if you stood on a table in a busy pub and started loudly criticizing your company to a room of people you didn’t know, would you see that as any different?

Cydonia Tue 19-Mar-19 21:58:33

I will have to check. It’s complicated, we were taken over by the company and I still have my old contract not theirs. The policies are all on an intranet thing so they would probably just say they are available for everyone to read. I had better not say any more I guess! Thanks for the replies, sorry for the grumpiness, just have toothache and am hacked off about this whole situation!

DwayneDibbly Tue 19-Mar-19 21:58:55

A friend of mine almost lost their job a few years ago for a comment they made on their own Facebook wall about a major incident at their place of work that had made the national press. It seems likely that a colleague reported the post as it was not public.

Not only were they hauled before a disciplinary panel but they had a final warning placed on their personnel file for two years.

A former colleague was also disciplined for a comment she made about a local firm (not one in the same line or work as ours but one we would do occasional work with). She too was disciplined and a warning placed on her file.

If your firm hasn't made you familiar with their social media policy then you could rebut their complaints about you with that but honestly, it's pretty standard these days.

DrDreReturns Tue 19-Mar-19 21:59:33

It also looks bad if you are looking for a new job and a potential employer sees you making disparaging comments about your employer on social media. I never mention my job on social media.
I have to read and sign my company's policies every year.

justforthisnow Tue 19-Mar-19 22:00:02

Hope it works out for you @Cydonia.
Keep schtum about the employers and know your friends!

Cydonia Tue 19-Mar-19 22:00:12

But to be clear, I didn’t say I worked for the company in my comments. There were many other comments on the article too, most a lot worse than mine.

Cydonia Tue 19-Mar-19 22:01:37

Pretty sure I haven’t signed anything with regards to social media use.

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