It’s natural that you have some complaints about your boss, co-workers, or customers. No job is perfect and we are only human.
However, how you express your feelings may prove to be a problem, not only in your present job, but also your chances of getting another in the future.
While social media may be a good method for communicating with friends and family, it’s not so good a choice for complaining about the people you work for or with. It can get you fired. Legally.
Under Canadian law, you can be fired for what you say outside the workplace. Even if you are posting from home, on your own computer, and on your own time, an employer can take issue with photos or comments you’ve made and terminate your position.
Complaining about work that could cause your employer economic harm (for example, “we make rotten products”) may be considered just cause for dismissal in a unionized position, although you may be given more notice than in a non-unionized gig.
Remember: items posted on social media may be around for a considerably longer time than you suspect.
Employers frequently check social media profiles of prospective applicants, looking for reasons why candidates may not be a suitable for employment; many employers require you to give them access to your Facebook profile in order to be considered.
All postings on Twitter are archived and available forever.
Besides posts about your job, employers may use other criteria, too. Racist postings, overly politicized comments, photos of lewd behaviour, excessive drinking, or illegal drug use can all contribute to your unemployment.
If you wouldn’t want something to appear in a job interview, you probably shouldn’t make a comment or post a photo about it on social media.
Should such posts or photos exist, it’s a good plan to cull your profile, back to the very beginning of your social media use. You should also request that any similar photos posted by friends also be deleted too. The latter should be done even for Facebook photos that you have not been tagged in. Facial recognition software can be used to link your profile picture to an untagged photo.
It is unfortunate to think that something you did 20 years ago could cost you your job or a job opportunity.
The persistence of the Internet allows us to speak our minds, but it also holds us accountable.
Doug Rutherford teaches computer networking and security for Yukon College and three post-secondary educational institutions in British Columbia.