Social Media at Work

Date: 17/11/2021

As the boundaries between work and leisure become more blurred it’s important to understand that comments made on social media can affect your employment.

In some cases employees can be dismissed for making comments about their workplace, employer, manager or co-worker using Social Media forums. Therefore it is always wise to err on the side of caution and think before making any comment that relates to your employment.

The issues to be aware of could be summarised as follows:

  • Any adverse remarks regarding the organisation, co-workers, clients and or customers has the potential to be used by an employer as the basis for disciplinary action or termination of your employment. It is not just about criticising your employer directly.
  • If your employer can show that your actions have the ability to damage the company in any form, it will make the employer’s case for a dismissal much stronger.
  • It doesn’t matter when you post comments – whether you’re at work or at home, your comments can be used against you.
  • “Liking” or “re-tweeting” other people’s posts can be interpreted as “re-publishing” them. You may be as accountable as the person who originally posted them.
  • If the comments made by the employee were accessible to the public, or to people at the workplace then this also harms the employee’s position.
  • If the employee is requested to remove the offensive material and does not comply, it will not help the situation.
  • If the employee breaches company policy regarding the use of Social Media forums, as long as the policy is not too onerous, then that will also compromise the employee’s position.

Social Media forums can also be used in ways that can unintentionally cause harm such as the case of the employee who called in sick but was subsequently found to be at a social function thanks to some photos posted online that they were tagged in. Make sure your tag option is set so that you can review anything that you may be tagged in prior to it being posted.

Just remember to think very carefully about what you post about work when using social media forums.

Helpful tips to avoid the pitfalls of social media

  • Adjust your privacy settings & review them often
  • Restrict most content to only people you know
  • DO NOT friend your boss
  • DO NOT identify your employer in posts
  • Only post things that you’re happy to have in a public forum

Posts that cause you a problem

  • Are likely to cause serious damage to the relationship between the employer and employee, ie. they are offensive or cause your employer to lose trust in you
  • Damage the employers’ interests
  • Are incompatible with the employee’s duties & responsibilities, ie. the post shows you breaking company rules

Be aware that even with the top privacy settings, you’re not completely protected. The internet is a public forum!

When using social media always ask yourself first, ‘How will I feel if my manager or mum sees this?’

If you have any issues contact the ASU.


Call centres

The Australian Services Union has significant membership in call centres across Australia. 3/08/2022