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Joseph, Lawyer
Category: California Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 5299
Experience:  Extensive experience representing employees and management
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3 weeks ago I posted a status update on Facebook. No names

Customer Question

3 weeks ago I posted a status update on Facebook. No names or companies were mentioned. It said something like "If you get in trouble for making 44 mistakes in 4 days, don't whine about it. There is something wrong with your work." My post was set to "friends only". I don't have my employer listed anywhere on my profile.

On Friday the HR Director called me into her office. She had a printed screenshot of my post that someone must have given her. She read their "social media policy" to me and even as she was reading it I didn't hear anything about how what I did could be construed as violating it. Then she pulled out her own personal netbook (the firewall on the work computers blocks Facebook) and made me log onto my Facebook page in front of her, find the post, show me the comments and "likes" -- anyone at the company who commented or liked it was also written up -- and then told me I had to sit there and go through my whole Facebook and delete anything even remotely related to the company. She also told me that I had to delete any photos taken at the office -- some of these were a co-worker's baby shower and I have no backups of those so they're gone forever.

I was in so much shock that I did as she asked, but this can't be legal, can it? Do I have any recourse? I feel totally violated.
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: California Employment Law
Expert:  Joseph replied 5 years ago.
Hello and welcome to JustAnswer.

I'm sorry to hear about your situation and hope I can help.

Unfortunately, your employer's actions are legal, since as an at-will employee, your employer can impose restrictions on you, including your use of facebook, as a condition of continued employment.

This stems from the employment at-will doctrine, which is codified in California Labor Code Section 2922, which states:

"An employment, having no specified term, may be terminated at the will of either party on notice to the other. Employment for a specified term means an employment for a period greater than one month."