Can you legally be fired for bad mouthing your boss on a social media site?
I was recently terminated from my employment, for cause, for posting a derogatory comment about my boss on Facebook. Where do I stand?
The influence of and intersection between social media and employment relationships is becoming a growing issue.
It is important that employees recognize that posting comments with respect to their employer or employment relationship on social media can often have serious implications. In most circumstances, some or many of your work colleagues may also be your friends on Facebook and, in turn, that means you know or ought to know that they will have direct access to the comments you are posting. As a result, your posting may be viewed as just another form of communication with your work colleagues, not dissimilar from email or discussion during a group gathering.
If your derogatory comments regarding your employer or boss are sufficiently offensive there is a good likelihood that it may be cause for termination. Your employer may also have some form of social media policy which directly prohibits such commentary, in which case its position may be strengthened.
However, in the event that you are a long term employee, you may be in a position to argue that while what you did was wrong, and may indeed be worthy of some form of discipline, termination for cause in the context of the totality of your employment and employment record is too harsh an outcome.
That said, the message from a legal perspective ought to be clear: Social media is not an appropriate outlet for derogatory or offensive comments about one’s employer or boss.
Norman Grosman tackles your employment law dilemmas regularly on Workopolis. More information about him and his legal services can be found on his website grosman.com
Category: Career dilemmas, Employment law