Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Careful With That Tweet and Facebook Post! Big Brother (Your Boss) Is Watching!

Not long ago, I blogged about why you should save your e-mails and text messages if you feel your job is in jeopardy.  I was speaking, of course, about saving your complaints of discrimination, your requests for Family Leave, your demand for Overtime, or incriminating responses from your employer about such topics.

Now, let me suggest why you should not be airing your thoughts or complaints about your job, your boss or your co-worker on Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, Linked-In, or any other Social Media platform.

Big Brother is watching. Orwell had it right, he just wasn't prescient enough to know how it was that, technologically, society's ruling parties (which includes Corporate America, of course), could gain such total insight into our thoughts and deeds.  See the attached Article detailing how Management is monitoring your activity!

The answer?  Many of us put them out there every day via stream of conscious blurbs on the Internet!  Its the new way to vent, and since only our Friends, Followers and Connections can read what we are writing, it's all good.

Except, if you are like me, you want as many Friends, Followers and Connections as you can get, and the more you get, the less you scrutinize who they are, what their motives may be, or who they "work for." 

Not only that, but who among us knows who Follows the Followers of our Tweets, much less who Follows our Followers' Followers....Or, if you permit Friends of Friends to see your Facebook profile, who knows who is peeking in on your page, maybe a Friend of a Friend, or a Friend of a Friend of a Friend, who is not your friend....As far as Linked-In is concerned, most of us fly buck naked on that one, let everyone see me, please!

You think Management doesn't know this?  Think they won't go "snooping around" to look for a "legitimate" reason to fire you when they want to terminate your employment?  Ok, call me paranoid, then....

And, you think that management-side attorneys don't know all this?  Hah!  They are a cunning lot.  Social Media is the first thing that the smart ones want to know about now when they get a case.  And, Heaven help us if, after the suit was filed, your computer crashed, or was attacked by a vicious virus (a startlingly frequent occurrence in employment litigation, it seems).  "The plaintiff has destroyed incriminating evidence!" they bellow.  Check out this Article to see what I mean!

Here is the Computer Age version of getting your A#* handed to you at trial.

My client is outraged when the Company shows up at the Preliminary Injunction Hearing arguing that my client was starting a competing business while still employed under a non-compete agreement.   I look at my client again, because, I think uneasily, the company's attorney sure seems confident in what she is saying....  I look at my client casually, sideways, for this is a conversation we have had many times before this fateful day.  A barely perceptive shake of the head from my client is all I need to reconfirm what we have talked about in the past.  I rise.

"Show me proof," says I.  "Show me a single letter, fax or even e-mail about this so-called enterprise," I say, with the type of confidence that only an attorney has been told everything except one little itty bitty fact can muster.

"I do not have a single letter, fax or even e-mail to prove my contention," says the employer.

 "No, you don't," I reply with equal measures disdain and condescension.  "No further...."

"But I do have 17 Tweets, 9 Facebook posts and the announcement of this new venture on Linked-In, all of which we discovered just a day or two before we fired your client."

Please don't do that, potential clients of all we windmill tilting employee-side labor lawyers. Please don't Tweet, Blog, Post, Share, Text or otherwise publish anything in the public domain about your feelings of discrimination, retaliation or future plans where your employment status or plans are concerned. Not only can it cost you your job, but it can cost you Unemployment Benefits and your potential for recovering for unlawful discrimination or retaliation.

Of course, it is also not a good idea to comment via Social Media on the anatomy of a co-worker, to speculate on Twitter about the affair you think the boss is having with her secretary or to post on Facebook your critical analysis of a decision made by your employer.  This could also cost you your job, and provide a bsis for denying you Unemployment Benefits

I know, I know, who would be dumb enough to do that?! Hmmm, how about Brett Farve?  Or the woman who was fired for calling her boss some rather tawdry adjectives on FacebookOr the (now former) employee of the Philadelphia Eagles who called the Eagles "retarded" after they let Brian Dawkins go. Or....

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