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Some Workers Claim Careless Social Media Postings Cost Them Their Job, Says New FindLaw.com Survey

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Michelle Croteau
FindLaw
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michelle.croteau@thomsonreuters.com

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EAGAN, Minn., Oct. 24, 2013 – Unflattering social media postings may be costing some workers their jobs and damaging their careers. That's the finding of a new survey from FindLaw.com, the most popular legal information website.

According to the survey, four percent of American adults say that something they posted on social media, such as Facebook or YouTube, resulted in them either being fired from their job, not being offered a job, losing a promotion, or being officially reprimanded or disciplined. 

And for those unfortunate workers, there seems little doubt as to the cause. More than half of those who suffered negative employment consequences said they were directly told by their supervisor that inappropriate social media postings were the reason; thirty-nine percent said that they were told by someone other than their supervisor. Only nine percent said that they had no direct evidence and were only guessing that social media played a role.

An earlier FindLaw.com survey found that 29 percent of young social media users have posted a photo, video, comment or other personal information that they fear could cost them a job. Twenty-one percent said that they have removed a social media post because of fear of repercussions from an employer. 

"Always assume that your boss might end up seeing that Facebook posting or Instagram photo you're about to send," said Stephanie Rahlfs, an attorney-editor at FindLaw.com. "Many people think that something they post on their own time on their own personal social media site cannot impact their status with their employer. Or they may assume that privacy settings will keep their employer from seeing it. But depending on the company you work for and the state where you live, your employer may have broad latitude for firing you for whatever reason. And in the long run, you may never know whether that job or promotion that you were never offered was because of something about you that your employer discovered on a social media site."

Information on wrongful terminations and directories for finding an attorney specializing in employment law can be found at the FindLaw Employment Law Center (http://employment.findlaw.com/).

The FindLaw survey was conducted using a demographically balanced survey of 1,000 American adults and has a margin of error of plus-or-minus 3 percent.

Note to editors: Full survey results and analysis are available upon request.

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FindLaw
FindLaw, part of Thomson Reuters, is a leading provider of business development solutions for small law firms. Through its team of legal marketing experts, FindLaw drives the industry by delivering a comprehensive portfolio of proven online and offline marketing solutions designed to connect law firms with targeted prospective clients. FindLaw is also home to the largest online directory of lawyers and FindLaw.com (www.FindLaw.com), the most popular legal website with more than six million people visiting each month for free information about a legal topic, to solve a legal problem or to find a lawyer.