Do You Post on Facebook While at Work? You May Be Sued or Fired [AUDIO/POLL]
Do you enjoy complaining about your boss or co-workers on Facebook? If so, you might want to be careful – so you don’t get sued or fired.
A growing number of employees in Jersey and across the country are facing serious consequences for using social media sites to make disparaging remarks about people they work with – or work for – and sometimes, they get in trouble just for “liking” a specific group or organization their boss isn’t enamored with.
Frank Askin, the Director of the Rutgers Constitutional Litigation Clinic says, “I think the courts are quite divided over how to deal with stuff – it’s all so new …there’s no clear line of legal reasoning.”
He says there are certainly questions pertaining to free speech here, but, “if there’s a defamatory comment, that’s certainly actionable – if you say something defamatory about somebody you can be sued, even if it’s on Facebook, or wherever it is.”
As far as being fired because of something you say on Facebook, Askin says, “I think that depends on your job situation – do you have a contract? Are you part of a union- do you have a personal contract?…if you’re an at-will employee you don’t have any protection in the first place- they can fire you for any reason at all.”
He adds the growing obsession with communicating via social media sites is somewhat baffling.
“I’m so old I don’t even understand most of this stuff,” says Askin, “I don’t understand Facebook or Linkedin or any of this stuff and I avoid it… I’m sort of a troglodyte in that sense …you know it’s beyond me – that’s all I can say – I can’t deal with it.”