Social media has always been a way for people to connect with those they love, but it has also proven to be a powerful tool for initiating change. The photos, videos and stories that people share via social media have the potential to go viral when other people start sharing the same content. That viral potential makes social media a powerful tool for holding businesses accountable and drumming up support for those going through difficult legal times.
If you have to bring an employment law claim against your employer, whether it relates to discrimination on the job or wrongful termination, it might seem logical that social media posts could help you connect with other victims or at least push public opinion in your favor.
Unfortunately, while social media content could make more people aware of your circumstances and help you feel more supported, it could also endanger your legal claim.
Your employment contract might prevent you from public sharing
Companies have wised up to the quick damage a social media post can do to their reputation. Quite a few now require that all staff members sign social media contracts as part of their employment agreements.
Although the courts do occasionally strike down social media policies that are unfairly restrictive, they will uphold many forms of these clauses. You could damage your claim by sharing negative stories about your former employer online, even if everything you say is factually true, by nature of violating your employment contract.
Moreover, your employer may be able to use your social media post as justification for disciplinary measures or termination that originally did not relate to social media activity.
What you say could undermine your claims in court
Depending on what you share on social media, it’s possible that your former employer could use your posts to demonstrate that claims about the impact of their wrongful actions are inaccurate or exaggerated. They might also use your social media history to bring your character or ethics into question.
Generally speaking, anything shared online, even with some degree of privacy control, can wind up shared or copied. The things that you share online can become evidence in court that can undermine your claim or damage the way that the courts view you as a plaintiff. It’s a smart decision to avoid posting about your legal issues until you resolve them and to carefully review your social media footprint before you take legal action.