Social media can be a great way to interact with people, contacting celebrities, people with similar interests and keeping in contact with friends. However, there are also dangers with it. In recent times the Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn lost his job after a blogger found a number of older tweets (some dating as far back as ten years ago) that made a number of inappropriate “jokes.”

Be aware

Some people made the argument that James Gunn had already apologised for the content of these tweets six years ago, suggesting that the complaints were politically motivated. However, this does highlight some of the dangers of interacting on social media.

Even if you delete a tweet, there is the possibility someone had already seen it and taken a screenshot of it. Direct messaging is not necessarily totally safe either, as the person you are speaking to could leak the conversation.

It could happen to you

Of course, some people may look at this and think “But I am not a celebrity. Why would anyone care about what I post on social media?” The simple answer to this is “More than you might think!”

It is estimated that over 70% of employers check the social media history of potential new employees. In some cases, a person can lose their job before they have even started, if they post something negative about the company before working, resulting in an employee picking up on it, resulting in the message being passed on and the employee getting dismissed.

While it is true that you have the right to free speech, there is the potential you could be dismissed for criticising your company and some companies specifically cite this in their contracts. If you do have a legitimate grievance with the company, it is better to talk about this with a manager so that they at least have a chance to address this.

Be honest

Another notorious issue is people claiming to be sick and then doing something else. It may sound obvious, but if someone takes a picture of you going out the night before and then claiming “illness” the next day, there is the risk that someone might spot you.

Watch what you say

Some people try to counter any potential objections by posting “All opinions are my own.” Ultimately this is not relevant- if someone feels that what you are saying is prejudiced or potentially damaging to the company, you could still potentially be reported, and the fact it is “your opinion” is irrelevant as they can argue that you are still bringing the company into disrepute.

Talk to us

The important thing to remember is that if you wouldn’t say it in front of your boss, you shouldn’t say it online. If you are unsure, it is best to talk to your manager. That being said, if you feel you have been dismissed unfairly or have concerns about your employment contract, please contact us today, and we will be happy to discuss your legal situation in more detail.