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Could social media use lead to your Texas employer terminating you?

Learn which social media activities are protected and which could lead to your Texas federal employer legally firing you.

Despite the fact that you are a federal employee in Texas, you likely still have a social media profile or two where you share your life with friends, family and followers. While social media is a great way to connect with people, it could cost you your job. Learn under what circumstances you are at great risk of potentially losing your job and when you should explore your legal options after termination from your job.

A shared sentiment

There may be times when you cannot help but vent about a work problem on social media. Maybe you make a vague post about the people you work with or the federal employee you work for. Could your post cost you your job?

According to the National Labor Relations Board and the National Labor Relations Act, if you post a sentiment online that you and your coworkers share, your employer cannot legally terminate you. That is because you are engaging in what is known as a protected concerted activity.

On the other hand, say that what you post online is a gripe you and only you share in the office. In that instance, your employer has a right to terminate you. While your coworkers may empathize with you and your point of view, that most certainly does not mean they share your perspective. It all boils down to whether whatever you post is part of an ongoing dialogue between employer and employees.

Understand company social media policies

Maybe your federal employer has dealt with employees venting or discussing workplace activities in the past, which is a special concern when it comes to jobs involving the executive, judicial or legislative branches of the U.S. government. As a result, some employers institute social media policies.

Legally, employers do not have the right to punish employees who take to social media to discuss employment terms, wages or working conditions. Of course, that is not the same as revealing sensitive or private government information or trade secrets that the public should not know. This is something else to make yourself aware of before you post sensitive information regarding your federal job on social media.

Another differentiation is when employees post hate speech or hateful comments about protected classes, which have to do with race, gender and religion. Employees, federal and otherwise, are also not protected from misrepresenting their employers.

Have you recently experienced terminated or threatened with termination by your Texas federal employer because of your online activity? Do yourself a favor and educate yourself on your legal rights by speaking with a legal professional as soon as possible.