Think about all the times you have seen something like the following on a social media account:
“These views are personal and not the views of my employer” or “these opinions are my own and should not be taken seriously”.
Some people believe by posting a ‘disclaimer’, they can then say what they like and are absolved of liability. They hope to rely on this without any ramifications. Wrong.
Things you may think are funny, sarcastic or satire is not necessarily protected by any ‘disclaimer’ you may add. You cannot defame someone publicly and then expect to rely on a disclaimer that states it is your own opinion, even if it is only on your own social media account.
You should also think twice about mentioning things on your blog or social media that go against the values or morals of your employer. If you think you are being humorous by saying “Domino’s is the best pizza in the world” when you work for Pizza Hut, don’t be surprised if you walk into work the next day and have no job. (kidding…but only sort of).
It doesn’t matter if you are in an hourly part time position or a high powered professional job, the duty of care when it comes to mentioning any work related comment on any public forum, including social media (which generally is legally considered ‘public’), should be considered the same.
Employers are getting savvy: they check your online profile before hiring you, have a right to fire you for online defamation or posts that show intolerance to work/employment/management/staff/colleagues.
And they can fire you if you breach their employment social media or general rules of respect.
Rules to live by with social media:
1. Don’t try to be funny: especially when it relates to your customers, clients or colleagues. This includes any sarcasm, or examples of work shenanigans, posting photos at work Christmas parties or discussions at functions.
2. Keep your profiles private.
3. Don’t think you can write about anything you like because you have included your own ‘disclaimer’.
4. Do not: be racist, write potentially defamatory.
5. Do not rant or write anything at all about your work, colleagues or management.
6. Think twice about your ‘likes’ on FB. If it goes against your company’s values or beliefs, you may find yourself in hot water.
7. And if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.
A disclaimer on your social media account does not matter. Think before you hit send.