I know this is common sense, but it needs be said. So what’s wrong with friending your manager/employer on social media? Ay dios mio! There are so many reasons why this is a bad idea for an employee. First of all, your employer/manager isn’t your friend. Regardless of how buddy, buddy you are with them and how much y’all talk about Mr. Miller’s ever-moving toupee in the break room, an employer can hire, promote, demote or fire you. They have all the power in the relationship. You don’t. Secondly, an employer’s interests are to make as much money as possible. That means if your social media posts hinders their money; you won’t be making money and are heading straight to the unemployment line. Here are several reasons why you should not friend your manager/employer on social media:
- Managers/employers can use your postings as a reason to deny you a promotion or even fire you because they did not agree with your opinions or saw unflattering pictures. Freedom of speech protects you from the government. It does not protect you from your employer.
- They can find out if you were on social media on an employer’s time. All they have to do is look at the date and time you posted online.
- They can track your personal interests including your political affiliations, location, religion and relationship status. These things are no one’s business, but when you make it public there is no law that stops them from knowing.
- Most importantly it is not worth it. What you do in your private time is your business and isn’t the business of your employer. An employee shouldn’t have to feel like they are on the clock even when they are off the clock.
What is even more scary is that some businesses want the government to make it the law to force employees to friend them on social media. Why? In some states, employers cannot ask you for your social media passwords. To get around the law, employers want to “friend” employees instead. Take a look at what happened in Arkansas.
In March, a bill was sent to an Arkansas state Senate committee that would require Camp Ozark’s employees to friend a manager on Facebook. The bill would have had state-wide implications by requiring any employee interacting with minors at a school, daycare, camp or even church to friend an employer. Read more about it here. Why did Camp Ozark and an Arkansas human resources group endorse this? According to Camp Ozark and the human resources group, it was a safety issue to protect campers. They believed that by monitoring employees activities on Facebook, an employer could determine if your online activities were detrimental to the interests of the camp and all other employees who interact with children in Arkansas. Facebook sent a representative to counter the charge based on privacy. The bill was blocked. However, I think this is a slippery slope. One has to wonder what’s the point of background checks and urine tests is if an employer also feels the need to have access to our social media pages.
The point of this post is to be smart online. Make your profile and posts private or block them so that employers cannot find your social media pages. Avoid listing the name of your employer on your profiles. If you feel compelled to friend your employers and managers on any social media page, limit what they see on it. Finally, check the laws in your state to determine what kind of access can an employer have to your social media pages and passwords.
I hope you see why I strongly urge you never to friend your manager/employer on social media. Employers take up more than 40 hours of your week and ask for background checks and urine samples. What’s next? Your blood type too? An employer may sign your checks, but you as an employee have the right to privacy.
Remember the only limit you have is the one you have placed on yourself. Think, know and be limitless.
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