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Last Updated on January 11, 2023 by Arif Chowdhury
Most business owners may eventually ask how to take disciplinary action for social media posts.
Don’t worry; you’re not alone in your struggle of handling disrespectful employees or dealing with people’s freedom of speech because recent protests and rallies in the USA are about racial discrimination and human rights.
As you would anticipate, many individuals have expressed their opinions and sentiments after the events on social media.
While some of these comments have been logical and intellectual, others have been outright racist.
Even if an employee’s post indicates that the employer agrees with the employee’s opinions, the employer is genuinely interested in the employee’s thoughts.
Those words are not socially acceptable and also blatantly anti-Semitic. And because of these activities, several notable fast firings have occurred recently.
Examples of employee’s offensive social media posts and “consequences of violating social media policy” are as follows:
- Authority dismissed workers on police-themed programs for NBC after two frightening Facebook postings, one entitled “Curfew,” and the other full of swear words were published in which the employee threatened to kill anybody who approached his house with a firearm.
- After tweeting, “All lives matter,” Sacked from talk radio,” the company fired a long-serving Sacramento Kings announcer.
- Her dismissal from the Orchestra was due to several social media misconduct Facebook postings, where she declared that black people deserved this. And she got fired for this hateful speech.
- The authority fired a guitar builder employee at Fender without cause after sharing a violent, obscene picture describing “how to treat demonstrators.”
Corporations should have great respect for their staff and regular customers, and these incidents convey a clear message of inequality and disrespect for others.
In each of these cases, the dismissals were well-founded. However, before responding to an employee’s rude remark, managers should take a moment to assess the situation and ensure they are taking appropriate action in line with the company’s policies and laws.
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People’s rights to talk and protection.
The First Amendment protects people’s right to speak out on public affairs in the US Constitution. Still, it’s essential to note that this protection only applies to government involvement.
Protesters should be permitted to use all methods necessary to get their message through, but authorities should not be allowed to yell at or drown out the demonstrators using loud sound systems.
The company would not violate employees’ First Amendment rights if their jobs were terminated in the manner described above.
Quick Note: Before terminating an employee from your organization, collecting and documenting all the evidence of their wrongdoing is a good idea. Additionally, seeking “legal advice” before taking any action is highly recommended.
What is the risk from the employer’s end?
Though the first amendment does not restrict organizations, they are subject to several limitations.
It’s essential to know the below topics if you plan on going against your employee who posts nasty stuff on social media.
Employees are immune while commenting on working conditions or sexual orientation.
Rules of the NLRB enable employees to communicate with colleagues through social media, including their limitations and employment regulation.
Those workers in a Union or not are equally subject to this immunity. Proselytizing and expression is protected activities of one’s self.
If a speech or social media post contains hate speech and does not name the employer or “working conditions,” the organization may take disciplinary action.
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Few political activities are protected under the law.
States have enacted legislation limiting the extent companies may forbid employees from expressing their political views in public places such as social media platforms.
California’s Labor Code 1101 restricts organizations from implementing any rule or regulation that prohibits or regulates the political participation of their workers.
A wide range of activities might be considered political engagement, such as wearing a campaign button, wearing an armband, pushing for a labor union, or making public criticisms of elected leaders.
Because of this, an employer may not take any action against their employees for social media posts.
The law also protects against wrongful termination.
Certain protected activities, like pursuing legal action, or denying to breach the law, have been prevented from terminating workers in several nations.
On the other hand, those states believe that any claim of public policy violation must be supported by law or the constitution.
Employees who have been terminated for engaging in political speech or political action or for discriminatory reasons related to their “sexual orientation” or other protected characteristics may be eligible to sue their former employers.
Quick Note: Every organization should follow labor laws accurately; otherwise, unlawful acts may cause severe damage to reputation along with unnecessary expenditures.
Outside of office premises, provide immunity for employees.
Employers may also have issues with off-the-clock conduct since numerous restrictions restrict their authority to discipline employees.
The employer may not take disciplinary action if the employee’s post identifies their employment or indicates that they were not in office premises when posting on social media.
In this case, however, the employer may respond more strongly to the offensive statement if it is posted on the employer’s social networking site.
Detailed guidelines and policy for employees.
If a firm has to deal with an employee’s abusive or insulting social media posts, this policy will assist them.
Additionally, the company may have confidential information that employees should not share publicly; it should ensure that it’s included in its social media policy.
Some sample guidelines for robust social media policy:
- A declaration that the organization’s rules and regulations do not infringe on an individual’s NLRB rights.
- Detailed guidelines from the organization clearly define what an employee can or cannot post regarding the organization.
- Employees must convey their personal beliefs or viewpoints, never suggesting that their views represent the businesses.
- Employees cannot connect their social media accounts to their official ones.
- Violations of the social media use policy have clear repercussions.
This guide’s primary target is to let you know how to handle an employee’s offensive social media post. Though this is a basic idea, every organization should implement its way of handling this complex task.
A company’s board of directors or management should not penalize employees for disagreeing with them. It is an essential principle to keep in mind. If an individual employee believes a corporation has harmed them, they should not fear repercussions for speaking up.
Employees who come out to publicly discuss their perspectives and give compelling evidence would eventually help all working-class people since the whole principle is built on experience.
Thus, a company may only develop workplace values if all efforts are made by employers to discourage and ban hate crimes, racism, and bias or to advocate violence against anybody.