Is my employer allowed to discipline me for my personal actions on Facebook?

UPDATED: Jan 27, 2015

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Is my employer allowed to discipline me for my personal actions on Facebook?

My employer, per its policy handbook, states employees’ personal Facebook/social media accounts should not include references to any of the following: “partying…alcohol use…sexually implicit comments/images” and that any employee who has been determined by the company to have violated any of these “may be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment.”

Asked on January 27, 2015 under Employment Labor Law, Indiana


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Most employment relationships are what is known as "at will". This means that as a general rule, an employer can set the terms and conditions of employment as it sees fit. This includes disciplinary action (or even termination) for comments made on a social networking site. Consequently, unless there is a union agreement or employment contract that prohibits your termination for such a posting or your treatment constituted some form of actionable discrimination, your employer make take such action as it deems necessary. 

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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