Employees and Social Media

You can’t always fire an employee who badmouths you online.

It’s a common reaction. An employee bad-mouths you and your business on Facebook. So you fire her.

Before the time of social media (and the internet), I was in college. I also worked a job after school where I had a boss who was a strange, quirky person.

I did a good job, but he was not exactly someone I enjoyed being around. I wasn’t the only one: my co-workers and I would laugh about some of his idiosyncrasies on our commute home on the ferry.

I’m pretty sure he overheard one day (or someone else who mutually knew us heard) because when we returned to work the next day, he was pretty upset with us. My co-worker was fired. I wasn’t, but it was clear that I was going to hit a dead-end soon.

So I moved on a little while later. But I always felt bad about it. I am not gossipy by nature, and I upset someone unintentionally. He was weird, but I didn’t mean to hurt his feelings.

Anyway, now I’m a boss and a business owner, and I try to hire people whom I enjoy working with. I would probably see a couple of teenagers making fun of me as annoying. I certainly wouldn’t feel like paying them my hard-earned profits in wages if they were ungrateful for it.

But if an employee is critical of your business online, you have to be careful. You cannot just fire them in certain circumstances. As always, it is situation-dependent. So watch the video below to get an idea of when you have to call a lawyer before sacking a snickering ingrate.

Video Transcription:

My employee posted on Facebook criticizing my business. Can I fire her?

Not unless you want to be on the losing side of a wrongful termination suit.

Many states, like California, have laws that prevent wrongful termination in violation of public policies.

Free speech and free association online are protected activities by public policy.

Also, the National Labor Relations Act prohibits employers from retaliating against employees for communicating with each other about the terms and conditions of their employment.

These protections extend to online communications as well.

Getting sued over something so petty is expensive.

Instead, why not use those words as constructive criticism to improve your business?

Then advertise it to social media and your workforce. Voila! Good PR and good will with your employees.

Ask us how we can keep you safe from lawsuits with our Employer Protection Package by calling us at 800-449-8992 or emailing us at [email protected].