Social media has become an essential tool for job seekers. Whether you are using social media to look for a job, optimizing your social media profiles for the job search or using social media in the workplace, there are rules and laws that apply. Be sure to stay up to date on how to effectively use social media, as well as how employers can legally use it to make hiring and firing decisions. Here are some things you need to know before using social media to search for a job:
Know Your Rights: From National Labor Relations Rulings to the First Amendment. Private and non-profit employees are protected by the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) which governs employee social media use in the workplace. The act protects concerted activity: the right of employees to discuss wages, terms of employment and working conditions. A private or non-profit employee can’t be fired or disciplined for posting on social media if the post falls under concerted activity. Further, an employer restricting social media use in the workplace may be restricting an employee’s right to discuss concerted activity.
Public employees are not protected by the National Labor Relations Act. Instead, the First Amendment protects social and political posts public employees make off duty, outside of their official capacity and not directly related to the workplace. If you publicly gripe about your workplace or employer, these posts are not protected. Additionally, posts of public concern must not outweigh a public employer’s ability to effectively and efficiently fulfill its responsibility to the public.