Mobilizing the Enterprise

Thoughts on SharePoint, Smartphones, and the future of enterprise productivity

The Perils of Professional/Personal Crossover

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In a recent VentureBeat Q&A, an employer asked a lawyer “Can you fire someone for disparaging your company on Facebook?”   From a legal perspective, the First Amendment protects our right to state opinions that may be negative to our employers.  In fact, the lawyer mentions a November 2009 case that declared an employer cannot prohibit an employee from posting negative comments about the company on facebook.

While firing may not be allowed, in practice, we’ve all experienced, or witnessed second hand, soft forms of discrimination: being held to “rules” ignored for others, being passed over for bonuses or raises, or always seeming to draw the short straw for undesirable tasks.  And the back channel when someone checks references from previous employers can also be negative, preventing the next job.

From an employer’s perspective, these negative comments can be a real breech of trust, especially in the case of a small business where the owner and business are nearly indistinguishable.  Identifying with the goals of a large corporation is harder but certainly the day to day team you work with than can be penalized if your personal actions are viewed negatively by a corporate manager.

Do you use Facebook for business email and chat? Do you allow your online  personal and professional lives to mix in other ways?  How do you keep your personal and professional communication separate? We’d love to hear your stories at [email protected] and they could show up in this blog.

Written by daviddsouza

March 1, 2011 at 11:00 am

Posted in Productivity Tip

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