Can an employer terminate your position due to photos on your own personal facebook page?

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Can an employer terminate your position due to photos on your own personal facebook page?

No captions were put on the photos, the photos were not posted by the individual, and they were tagged in these photos by someone else. No company information was on them or mentioned. The photos are of me drinking and out with friends and stumbling in the photos, dancing and having a good time.

Asked on June 11, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, North Carolina

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Yes, private employers are not bound by the First Amendment, so there is no protection for employee "speech" (which includes photos). If you did not have an employment contract which protected your employment in some way (such as by limiting grounds for termination, guarantying you a job for a certain period, or providing a disciplinary process which must be followed), you were an employee at will. An employee at will may be fired for any reason, at any time--including for what he does after hours, if it is something the employer disapproves of, with a few limited exceptions that do not seem to apply. (For example, the law specifically prohibits religious discrimination in employment, so no firing someone due to religious observances.)


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