CJP Insights_Social Media

Think before you share

An adage goes ‘if you do not have anything nice to say, do not say it’ perhaps this should be adapted to modern life as ‘if you do not have anything nice to tweet, do not tweet it.’

Social Media is like a Hard Disk with unlimited memory which will record whatever you write, but the only catch is that you can’t erase it.

There emerge far-reaching consequences of this, on your career

The dangers of posting online without thinking are undisputed. To employees, it may lead to loss of employment while employers may be held vicariously liable for the actions of their staff.

Cribbing about a boss is so common here.

A McAfee study found that over 40% Indians of 1100 surveyed agree that they could get fired from their jobs for controversial content on their social media channels. More than a quarter admitted to only deleting posts after a crisis and 25.7 per cent confessed to posting negative content about their current workplace.

The Internet is replete with news items of employees in the US getting fired for posting for / against Trump. For instance, a woman- Robyn Polak in the city of Milwaukee says she was fired for social media posts supporting President Trump. Her Facebook comments led to someone leaving a bad review on the page of her employer, Precision Dental MKE. And the consequence was that the office manager called her shortly after to let her know she was being let go.

Washington Post suspended and then reinstated the journalist Felicia Sonmez amidst an uproar after she tweeted a link 2016 story from the Daily Beast about the rape allegation, just hours after NBA legend Kobe Bryant’s fatal helicopter accident.

An estimated 60% of employers use social networking sites to screen potential candidates before making decisions.

In extreme cases, one of our known person was not selected for a job because of a social media post where he had advocated that one must often change roles/companies to grow in career, else face stagnation. The HR took offence of the same J

A series of questions come in our mind

  1. a)Does censoring an employee’s social media activity amount to violation of Freedom of Expression? In Kenya, freedom of expression is protected absolutely in terms of Article 33 of the Constitution.
  2. b)While employers reserve the right to discipline an employee for misconduct including outside of work, how does the employer prove that there is a connection between their conduct outside work and employer. Can they take action merely because they do not approve of staff’s conduct outside of work without proving the connection between such act and the business?
  3. c)Can the responsibility to be careful about social media posts be incorporated in the employment contract, with consequences spelt out clearly for those violating the same?
  4. d)Would employers need a “legal ground” before checking the social media profiles of potential employees? EU Guidelines state that the data collected from a search must be necessary and “relevant to the performance of the job”.

What do you think?