Social Media Posts Can Be Grounds For Discipline

Social media sites like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are very popular with members and can be a great way to communicate what is going on with your family and friends. They also serve to connect people from across the world who have similar interests.

State agencies use social media sites to promote their mission and connect with citizens. OPEA uses both Facebook and Twitter to reach out to our members and others. If used properly, these sites can be a lot of fun too.

However, what you post on Facebook, even when away from work, can get you in trouble with your agency. There have been instances when off-duty employees posted job-related comments and were later held accountable by their supervisors through the corrective discipline process. This includes comments about clients, coworkers or supervisors, even when not identifying them by name, and comments about agency policy or practices. Employees may also be disciplined for social media conduct that undermines an agency’s mission, purpose and credibility with the public.

Even posting non-work related posts can get a state employee in hot-water. If your supervisor sees a post from a staff member that the supervisor believes discredits their agency, they may have a discussion with their employee about the post. Employees can be disciplined for “conduct unbecoming a public employee” and employees have been disciplined because of personal public media posts.

Your agency still has the ability to monitor your computer-related activity when you are at work and may track your internet usage when you are at work. While using work computers, you still need to follow your agency’s internet usage policy.

Away from work, it is best not to comment about your work on social media and remember that what you post may be seen by your coworkers and supervisor. If you have questions about your work and social media sites, you can email Dixie at OPEA or speak with your agency’s human resources staff.

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