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    Wall Street Journal: Social-Media Sites Can Mean Trouble at the Office

    We’ve discussed before how social-networking data — from sites such as MySpace and Facebook — can be used against employees (which can lead to lawsuits when employees fight back). Now, the Wall Street Journal reports on how activities that some consider innocuous, such as “likes” on Facebook, can affect an individual’s job:

    Workers of America, be careful what you “like” and post on Facebook.

    A U.S. district court in Virginia recently found that a sheriff’s office employee “liking” a Facebook page was “insufficient speech to merit constitutional protection.”

    Several former employees claim they were let go after the sheriff found out about their support for a political rival through a Facebook “like,” among other actions. […]

    These recent cases highlight an important point: You may face repercussions at work for your behavior on sites such as Facebook. With Facebook users generating billions of “likes” and comments every day, there’s plenty of potential for workplace problems.

    While some employers monitor social-media use, in many cases Facebook “friends” and co-workers alert management about posts. […]

    Some states protect employees from adverse actions in response to various forms of lawful, off-duty conduct. In the workplace context, the First Amendment generally applies only to public-sector workers.

    Meanwhile, the National Labor Relations Act protects workers at most private-sector employers who discuss employment terms and conditions with co-workers, among other actions. […]

    Because of the time and expense involved, many employers prefer not to police social-networking sites, and investigate only when problems emerge, according to experts. Still, it’s safe to say the boss isn’t going to be happy with a worker who uses Facebook to post invective-strewn rants, or to reveal proprietary, confidential or embarrassing information.

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