What is ethically acceptable and just plain wrong
April 2012, Maryland passes a bill banning employers from asking for Facebook and other social media passwords. Bill 433 protects prospective hires. Cannot be asked to hand over Facebook or Twitter passwords as part of the official application process. Helps businesses avoid lawsuits related to asking for online passwords Bill proposed after Robert Collins (2010) former Correctional Office was asked for passwords during a re-hire.
Is this a legal issue that should be handled with a bill in the courts? Is this an ethical issue that varies from employers and their discrimination as to whether employees social media will effect the brand. Where is the line drawn between personal life and business life? Does the 1st amendment protect employees in this case?
Although an employee may work for a public entity, they are still a citizen of the United States and have free speech rights like any other citizen. However, with work-life lines becoming more blurred, there are some additional concerns about First Amendment issues when a public employee is using social media. What are the First Amendment issues if a public employee is using social media during working hours or on agency owned equipment? What are the First Amendment issues if a public employee is using social media on personal time and using personal equipment?
Free speech issues usually arise when disciplining or terminating an employee for their speech in social media. To determine if the 1st amendment protects an employee from disciplinary actions the following must be met: Is the person speaking on a matter of public concern? If not, then free speech protections do not apply. Is the person speaking as a citizen or as a public employee? If speaking as public employee then free speech protections do not apply. Do the interests of the government in promoting efficient operations outweigh the interests of the employee in commenting on matters of public concern? If yes, then employee may be disciplined for speech.
During the week of April 4, 2012, SmartBlog, a social media blog, conducted a survey and asked the question: Do you believe brands should be held responsible for the personal posts of their employees? No — an employee’s personal posts have nothing to do with their employer: 75.95% Yes — brands should be judged by the kinds of people they hire: 24.05% Social Networking at work
70% of U.S. recruiters and HR professionals have rejected candidates based on online data of a potential hire. Inappropriate photos: 11% Drug/Alcohol related content: 10% Negative comments about employer: 11% Dishonesty: 13%
According to Forbes magazine, 68% of potential employers hired someone because of what they found on that candidate’s social media profile. Positive Impression: 39% Showed Creativity: 36% Showed well-rounded: 33% Supported their qualifications: 36% Better to keep your social media account and edit to a professional level, than to delete completely.
Where is the line between personal life and business life? Realization that employers can see your profile without your permission and without being a social friend. Some employers won’t check your profile for liability reasons.
Keep profile clean. Never know who’s searching for you. Be proactive to manage the postings on your page. Crop photos if neccisary. Review your company’s social media guidelines Use a disclaimer
Do not add colleagues or supervisors as friends Do not have your employer listed on Facebook. Ok for Linkedin. Don’t engage in arguments with media or customers Don’t badmouth a competing company or your company regardless of how unassociated you are with them on social media. Don’t post anything incriminating on your page or a friend’s page. If dating someone in the same office, do not post on social. Everyone goes on social during work, at least be productive.