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Social Media – Traps for Young Players

By Australia


We are all familiar with the advice ‘clean up your own personal Social Media’ before applying for a new employment role, but what else should you be considering in regard to your life online?


Employment law is now rapidly keeping pace with Social Media, therefore it’s important to consider what you post online.


Firstly, the Aussie classic – throwing a sickie, something which seems to increase during our beautiful summer months.  You should probably think twice about posting selfies at the cricket or the beach when you should really be at work.   Even indirectly you can be caught out by being tagged in a mate’s timeline.  Employers may not be technically our friend online, but your activities can get back via others. Your employer is now within their rights to discipline or provide a warning should they discover a non genuine sickie via Social Media.


Unfortunately (or fortunately), we all have a camera with us 24/7 in the form of a smartphone and each moment can be captured.   The temptation to share what we are doing with our friends and family is so appealing, but even sharing a photo with a friend via a text enables them to upload it to Social Media.


One more serious online infraction is posting derogatory comments about your employer/company or your colleagues, this can now lead to legitimate dismissal.  In the past you may have come home and had a moan about your boss to your partner or family, after complaining the next day you were usually over it and went back to work.


You need to be aware that posting negative comments about your employer’s clients or customers may also not be acceptable. 


You may want to tone down your views and posts about prominent individuals on their timelines, particularly if your security settings allow others to see your employer’s name.  There was a recent case where an employer won an anti-dismissal claim against an employee who did this.


Ensure you are familiar with your workplace’s Social Media policy and use your common sense regarding what you put on your personal Social Media.


It’s important to consider that even if you employer cannot take formal action about your online activities, their perception of you may change if they see the photos of you drunk on the ground which were taken on the weekend.  What about that promotion you were seeking?  In addition, intentionally or not you may not be treated the same way by your boss should they see what you have been up to.


It may be boring to hear again, but once you upload something via Social Media, it can gain a life of its own and it’s there for eternity.