6 Tips to Protect Yourself When Posting on Social Media

A daily part of modern life, social media has replaced neighborly chats, expanding the neighborhood to mean the whole world sometimes. Words like “viral,” “likes,” and “unfriend” have become a part of our vocabulary and way of life. On the dark side of social media is bullying, trolling, and job loss.

Yes, job loss.

Social media has been the cause of employees losing their jobs due to one single post. That’s scary. Crazy enough, your employer has the right to fire you at any time for whatever reason they want with only a few exceptions.

6 Tips to Protect Yourself When Posting on Social Media

Think Before You Post.

Consider what you are writing or sharing. Strong political opinions can be offensive to some of your Facebook friends and Twitter followers, and your coworkers or boss may decide that they can’t work with you. Separation of work and personal is becoming more and more gray.

Ask Yourself

  • Would this photo or statement offend my coworkers?
  • What privacy settings should I set on this post?
  • Am I willing to deal with the results of the post?

Protect Your (Company) Information

Although many people don’t think twice about sharing personal information on their social media, you should be wise about what you choose. Some information may open you up to being targeted by criminals. But, if you post confidential information about your job on your Facebook page (or any other social media account), you can expect whiplash from your company.

Ask Yourself

  • Should this information be kept private?
  • What’s the worst-case scenario if I post this?
  • In the wrong hands, how could this information be used?

Practice Account Hygiene

Forgotten social media accounts can be used against you as well. And since most accounts are connected to other accounts, a hacker may have access to more of your information than you realize. Be aware of your location tags as well. Double check what apps are connected to your accounts and try to minimize how many are interconnected.

Ask Yourself

  • Do I need to delete any old accounts?
  • What passwords should I strengthen to prevent a hacker?
  • Should I have an email address just for social media accounts?

Learn How to Complain

The NLRB sets out to protect employee rights to complain about work situations on social media or in the break room. If an employee is fired for complaining about pay, work schedule, under-staffing, or a bad boss and other employees chimed in with their opinions, the law may protect these employees from negative employment action. The key is that you must have proof that you and other coworkers were discussing the problem.

Ask Yourself

  • Is your complaint valid?
  • Are other employees talking about the problem as well?
  • Do you have next steps to try to fix the problem?

Know Your Right (Not) To Speak

Most people believe that the First Amendment, which refers to the freedom of free speech, applies to their ability to speak their opinion and not deal with any negative results ever. This is just not true. The First Amendment prohibits the government—not private employers—for taking action against residents for speaking out their opinions.

Ask Yourself

  • Will my opinion hurt my employer?
  • Do I have any protections for speaking my thoughts?
  • Is my employer the government?

Understand the Social Media Policy

Many businesses are encouraged to have a social media policy in place. However, the policy should never deter employees from discussing their complaints and trying to figure out how to the improve the situation. Employees should also be aware of what they can and cannot post based on the policy.

Ask Yourself

  • Does this post violate my employer’s social media policy?
  • What’s the purpose of my post?
  • Is my employer’s policy too strict and violate labor laws?

Social media is all fun and games until you lose your job for making a rash, offensive post on one of your accounts. You need to know the best ways to protect yourself when posting on social media so you can live your life like you want. Be smart in what you post and aware of your employee rights so you know when you have a claim of right violations.


If you have experienced illegal employment issues, contact an employment lawyer who will know how to navigate your case and your rights under the law.

Don’t hesitate, talk to an attorney: (412) 626-5626 or lawyer@lawkm.com.