Firing Employees for Their Social Media Posts: Ethical and Legal Issues Used at the MBA level and conducted at companies for executives and mid-level staff, my published Sage business case provides a hypothetical set of facts in which an employee uses social media to complain about an employer. The employee made the complaints on his own time and using personal equipment. Participants are placed in the role of a manager, who must navigate the ethical and legal boundaries of workplace speech. Recent case law will be discussed as some HR professionals may be surprised to learn that their company social media policy is defective and in need of revision.
By the end of this business case, participants should be able to:
• weigh ethical and legal issues when addressing an employee’s social media activities; and
• understand the importance of managers in communicating effectively with employees on complying with social media policies, both in and out of the workplace.
Furthermore, the group should have an improved understanding of how managers need to:
• balance ethical issues, attendant to an employee’s social media activities;
• assess legal issues when addressing an employee’s social media activities;
• determine whether “employees at will” have workplace social media speech rights;
• interact with company human resources professionals prior to disciplining an employee; and
• ensure that they effectively communicate company social media policies to employees.