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Can you be fired for a social media post?

When you work for an employer, as most of us do, you may feel like what you do in your free time is completely unrelated to your work life. By the same token, you may think that your social media life counts as free speech and that you're protected from any repercussions that might arise from controversial or incriminating posts. Don't worry ? you're not alone.

A recent study done by HubShout revealed that 41.2 percent believed that the first amendment protected them from employers, while another 30.4 percent weren't entirely sure. That means 71.6 percent of the respondents were either uninformed or wrong.

Here's the truth: the First Amendment covers "interference or constraint" from the government, not from employers. So, you can be fired for posting something on social media. In fact, another survey found that 18 percent of employers have done just that.

There is an exception, though. The National Labor Relations Board says that you are covered if the post is part of a group complaint or if you're trying to illicit a group response. For example, you could say, "We need to get together and encourage management to change their clock in policies." However, you can't say, "I hate my company's clock in policies."

If you feel you were wrongfully terminated because of a social media post or any other reason, you may want to consider speaking with an employment rights attorney. He or she can look at the particulars of your case and may be able to offer guidance.

Source: digitaltrends.com, "SOCIAL MEDIA POSTS CAN COST YOU YOUR JOB, THE FIRST AMENDMENT HAS NO PROTECTION," Bruce Brown, November 18, 2016

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