Can you get fired for what you post on social media? Attorney weighs in

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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — Over the years social media has become a critical part of people’s lives. While social media is used for communicating what you communicate on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, what interactions you have could get you fired.

“The employer can terminate you,” said Sam Bolinger, Fort Wayne attorney. “Indiana is an at-will state so as long as it’s not a discriminatory reason the employer can terminate you and if it applied uniformly and consistently across the board then yes.”

‘At will’ means that you can be fired for almost any reason or for no reason at all. You can also quit for any reason or for no reason at all.

However, in today’s atmosphere and with social media at our fingertips, getting fired for something you post on social media is becoming more common.

Bolinger’s advice is to stay off of social media altogether.

“I’m extremely old fashion,” Bolinger said. “I wouldn’t post anything on any social media or any type of platform. If you don’t have any of those platforms to post on fail-safe is there.”

For those who can’t stay away from social media platforms for work, personal or other reasons, Bolinger says it’s key that employees know what their companies policies are. It is also best to be aware of when you are posting on social media and who’s electronic device you are using.

“There are several issues that come into play, that being who supplies the computer, who’s server it is, if you are doing [the posting] on company time or you are doing it on your own time,” Bolinger said. “General rule is as the employer they get to monitor and control it. If it’s on your time separate and distinct [from work] and on your own computer. As long as it’s not derogatory to the company or anything of that nature the employer has less of a chance of being successful in terminating.”

However, if the post is obscene, racially motivated, discriminatory, and/or harassment then your chances of being fired increase even if the post is made using your own device on your own time.  

Bolinger said government employees are better protected because of the first amendment but you still can’t say whatever you want. Depending on a company’s social media policy they can also require you to remove a post.

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