How internal social media blunders can do lasting damage

It’s not just a matter of avoiding rants on Facebook or Twitter. One doctor’s profane tantrum, caught on video, has come back to haunt her in a big way. Here’s what to tell your employees.

The list of employees who have lost their jobs because of social media mistakes is, well, long.

I’ll get you started with incidents here and here and here.

Whether it’s on or off the clock, being outspoken—to put it mildly—on social media, doesn’t end well often. Most social media missteps that I read and blog about involve conscious decisions by employee to do dumb stuff on social media.

Then there’s this:

When a YouTube video gets you suspended

Did you hear the one about the young doctor whose viral YouTube video got her suspended?

No, it wasn’t anything that she recorded and posted. Rather, the Miami Herald reports that a neurology resident was placed on administrative leave after a video that someone took of her cursing at and attacking an Uber driver was posted to YouTube (it’s NSFW) and went viral—like 6.1 million views as I write this post.

The following week, in an appearance on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” the young doctor took responsibility for her actions, calling that night the biggest mistake of her life. Sadly, she and her family have also received hate mail, and she has been a victim of many online threats.

Related: 6 steps to crafting an internal social media plan.

From bad to worse

This puts into perspective that potentially losing a job, though a major concern, is but the tip of the iceberg in terms of how one bad night—one really bad night—can dramatically change the life of one of your employees.

So, remind your employees:

  1. Where the business is concerned, anything an employee says or does on social media, 24/7, could affect his or her job.
  2. Unintentional viral social media “stars” can lose their jobs, too.
  3. The Internet does not forget. Most anything posted on social media can have lasting ramifications, both on one’s career prospects and personal life.
  4. Though we all make really bad mistakes, avoid making your worst ones loudly and publicly, because you never know who’s going to be around to capture it.

Eric B. Meyer is a partner in the labor and employment group of Dilworth Paxson . Contact him at emeyer@dilworthlaw.com . A version of this article originally ran on his blog, The Employer Handbook .

(image via)

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