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Should Employers Be Able to Fire an Employee for Facebook Activity?

We all have been warned of the dangers and risks of offending Facebook material—specifically posting questionable photos and statuses online. We have been told many times that employers are frequently doing a full background check, which includes looking into profiles via social media. With this added personal material viewable, it has raised a lot of questions about what is okay for employers to look at and base their decisions off of, when concerning employment. Is it okay for employers to make a decision to not hire someone based on personal information not conveyed directly to them, but seen on a social networking site? Further, should an employer be able to fire someone who is already working for them based off what they have found online?

In my opinion, I think the best way to avoid having this dilemma altogether is to maintain private settings, be friends with only people you actually know, and most importantly, do not post anything you would ever be uncomfortable having your mom, grandmother, or employer see. These, in what I consider, common sense steps are an important way to avoid ever having any type of this conflict.

However, if following these steps still raises an issue in employment, I think it is important to consider the content that was considered offending, in order to evaluate if the Facebook activity is valid enough to have a person miss a job opportunity or get fired. For me, I think that anything that is posted online should be automatically assumed to be in the public. Thus, if you choose to post pictures of you partying or write statuses defaming someone, assume that it will be seen. That being said, it is time to consider the evaluations that employers are making when judging such material.

For an employer to fire someone based on Facebook activity actually seems OK to me, but only if it affects the company, itself. For example, if an employee has been posting private company information or defaming the company itself, I think it is not out of line for a company to fire that employee. However, if a company sees images or text that they do not agree with; however, it does not affect the company or the employer’s representation of him or the employees at the company, I think there should not be an issue. Of course, anything illegal (whether affecting the company or not) is always grounds for firing.

Again, all of this is very avoidable by taking action of what you do post online. Evaluate your priorities. If keeping your job is near the top of the list, you should be doing everything necessary to make sure you don’t lose that job, which includes keeping that bad work day rant to yourself rather than spilling it on your Facebook status.

Author By-Line
Karen Stephenson is a regular Facebook user and has done development work for different companies in social media. She promotes many websites such as Find UK Phone Numbers, a website which helps people find different company service telephone numbers in the UK.

How To: Leverage Facebook as a Freelance Job Search Tool

job-search-social-media-posterThe constant challenge of freelancing lies in continually creating ways to market oneself and drum up repeat and new business. This is rarely, if ever, an easy thing to accomplish. The good news is, with the explosion in social media, this has become a slight bit easier.

We all know social networks such as Twitter and Facebook are fun networking and socializing platforms, but they, along with other social media tools, can also be used to enhance your job search and help you to land more clients. Don’t underestimate the usefulness of social media, you never know what you might find beyond the regular job boards.

Facebook holds the same networking and socializing benefits as those on Twitter and offers increased ability to build your social network through Facebook groups and fan pages. Many of the uses for these groups is job sharing so be sure you look beyond the obvious “freelancing” groups and fan pages.

So how should you use Facebook to find that next freelance job? First, you’ll need to know who to follow by simply searching your interests. If you’re a web designer, by all means, visit the various design groups but also branch out to the niches that interest you most like Flash design, CSS, etc.

Align Yourself with People Who:

  • Hire freelancers
  • Know people who hire freelancers
  • Outsource to other freelancers
  • Share the same ideas and interests
  • Have the potential to collaborate on ideas
  • Inspire you

Tips for Facebook Networking:

  • Look for opportunities to share job opportunities: Have you ever come across a good freelance opportunity that wasn’t a good fit for your skill set? Find other freelancers in that niche and share the opportunity. You never know when the favor will be reciprocated.
  • Share useful links: Every day yields new links to blog pots, news items, videos and cool tools for freelancers. How does this benefit freelancers? The constant opportunity to learn and become inspired by the world around us, so share those useful links!
  • Offer support: Fellow freelancers are very supportive and are often willing to offer tips and advice. You’ll also find collaborators, conversationalists and fans by being one of those ‘friendly freelancers’.
  • Offer camaraderie: Working from home can be a lonely existence. Facebook offers a means of escaping the solitude of a day spent alone in the home office.
  • Linked In: provide a link to your Linkedin profile showcasing your work history and accomplishments. Most importantly, be sure to keep your Linkedin resume up to date
  • Use your blog: Consider integrating your blog feed into your page or profile. Your content and ideas can help set you apart as an expert in your respective field.

Lastly, Be Careful What You Put Out There

We’ve all heard the horror stories. Remember that while using Facebook to find work, potential clients will also be using Facebook to check up on you. Build a professional profile and act appropriately so they feel as if can trust you with their brand. Create a separate profile if you tend to get a little crazy on the weekends.

What other tips do you have? Have you found jobs through your Facebook connections?