As society rapidly continues to advance technologically, new forms of communication have been put into place, both facilitating and complicating our daily lives. Whether it be a new word in the dictionary, or the rise of social media networks, each pose a threat to society if left unresolved as it conflicts with old systems put into place. In regards to the workplace, social media has completely shifted our perspectives on why and who we decide to hire or terminate. Subsequently blurring the boundary lines between the private and professional lives of both current and potential employees. When it comes to social media and the workplace, is anything actually considered private? This topic will be further expanded through the idea that: establishments reserve the right to find out about an employee’s personal life, given the fact that the employee has not been performing to their highest potentiality and each and every employee is entitled to a private and personal life which is completely unrelated to their place of employment.
So what are social media networks? According to webopedia.com “Abbreviated as SNS a social networking site is the phrase used to describe any Web site that enables users to create public profiles profile. Social networking sites can be used to describe community-based Web sites, online discussions forums, chatrooms and other social spaces online.” (1) These new sites have caused an evolution in the way we communicate, interact and perceive one another entirely. Rather than simply emitting a message on a one-to-one basis, individuals have now been given the power to spread content one-to-many in a matter of seconds! Now imagine coming home from work after an extremely stressful and tiring 8 hour shift and simply needing to vent. Facebook, home to over 400,000,000 users allows you to release any thought and idea into the world as many times as you please. Thus leading you to post a series of extremely long and angry messages, publicly displaying your true feelings towards your manager. Now although your friends list may not include your boss, it only takes a few likes for any post to go public. Consequently, making management furious and leaving you unemployed. “According to a study done by Proofpoint, only 4% of American companies reported terminating an employee due to their behaviour on sites like LinkedIn and Facebook. The following year¸ that amount doubled to 8%” (2) which clearly depicts the swift increase in the issue at hand, why should what you post be relevant information to your employer?
Many large businesses take into account small outburst like a simple status because it increases the likelihood of that employee to potentiality harm the company in much more serious cases which includes “loss of and/or disclosure of confidential information, discrimination claims, unfair dismissal claims, reputation risks, vicarious liability, privacy breaks and defamation” (3) In many circumstances, it is the employee who makes the first mistake by wrongfully posting an offensive status related to their workplace but its becoming increasingly common for employers to maintain a close eye on their staff but invading their privacy. Sadly, it even goes beyond that “you lose your rights before you even get the job. Many employers conduct extensive investigations into prospective employees... There findings include the search for a criminal record (convicted or not) credit score, driving record and in serious firms a drug test” (3) but don’t worry! You are accompanied by a “urination monitor” to ensure that you are actually filling the cup.
In contrast, if an employee’s private life has been holding them back from performing as would usually, management should decide to step in and provide them with any available assistance. Typically, we would rather not be looked...
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