How Can Using Social Media Affect Your Employment?

Social media has significantly boomed in the last decade, with millions of users across various platforms. In this article, we’re going to discuss how using social media can affect your employment…

There are multiple social media platforms that individuals use every day, but what people often forget to consider before posting is that their actions can have a significant impact on their employment. 

If you are concerned that comments, posts or something else you have done on social media could impact the future of your employment, it is wise to seek guidance from a solicitor for employment law advice about your available options. 

To learn more about how using social media can affect your employment, keep reading…

How Social Media Can Impact Your Current Employment?

While it’s easy to presume that your personal life outside of work is separate from your employment, what you do in that time has the potential to impact your current employment. This can include any posts or comments that you make on social media, even where they are not in relation to your employer. 

Employers don’t want employees that are speaking badly about the company,  colleagues or customers, as this is only going to shed a negative light on the business and have the potential to impact their reputation.

 But in a similar sense, they are not going to want an employee that is posting offensive or controversial content, especially where their social media is linked to the business’s name. An example of this could be where they have their place of work in their Facebook bio. 

Discriminatory or Offensive Content

Discriminatory or Offensive Content
Photo by Sara Kurfess from Unsplash

Many businesses in the UK set social media policies to govern how their employees act on business social media and sometimes their own private social media. If the company’s policy is breached, your employer may take disciplinary actions or, potentially worse, fire you for social media misconduct. 

In the past, there have been many examples of individuals that have posted discriminatory comments or content, and those who have witnessed it have been able to link the employee responsible to their client. 

In many situations like this, the employee responsible receives a disciplinary action or often is let go by their employer due to their actions reflecting poorly on the employer and/or not aligning with their business’s views or policies. 

A clear example of where this has previously happened is a man who was fired from his job at AT&T after responding to a friend’s Instagram story in regard to racial inequality, who then proceeded to post his message publicly on social media, naming him as a racist. The company fired him due to breaching the business’s code of business conduct and social media policy. 

Does Social Media Impact Decisions of Potential Employers?

Even if you are not employed by a business yet, but you have been applying to job applications, it is highly like that they will take the time to scope your social media. This is so that they have a better understanding of who you are as a person and can flag anything problematic before employing you. 

Anything that could come across as discriminatory, controversial or considered cyberbullying could have a significant impact on whether they choose to hire you for a job over different candidates. A recent study into employment and social media found that 34% of employers use social media to help them decide who could be a good fit for a role

How to Protect Your Social Media 

If you are concerned that your social media could potentially be flagged by your employer, there are certain actions which can be taken to prohibit this, including: 

Privacy Settings

There are easy ways to prevent your employer from having direct access to your social media accounts. This can be done by setting your privacy settings to private across the platforms you are on. 

While this does help to an extent, it is still wise to consider that other people have access to your posts and comments. Therefore anything you say that could be considered as offensive could still be passed on to your employer.

Clearing Up Your Social Media Profiles

Before applying to new jobs, or even while you are in your current employment, it’s wise to scope through your social media accounts, even old ones you know longer use, to ensure nothing can be referred to as inappropriate, controversial or offence. This includes checking your likes and shares. While you may presume that no one can see what you like on social media, some social media platforms like Twitter and Tiktok have this feature available.  

For more advice on how you can prevent your social media from having a detrimental impact on your job prospects, see technojobs

Be Careful With What You Share on Social Media 

The best way to prevent your social media from affecting your employment is to use the actions provided above but also to consider what you are doing and the impact it can have before posting, commenting, liking and sharing on social media. Don’t make silly mistakes which could potentially affect the rest of your life. 

How do you ensure your social media doesn’t breach company policies? Let us know in the comment box below.

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