Can Social Media Posts be Used as Evidence in an Employee Harassment Claim? 4 Big Tips for Building a Claim
Can social media posts be used as evidence in an employee harassment claim?
Social media posts like Tweets and Instagram photos seem as routine as reading a newspaper.
Social media is ubiquitous. A recent study from the PEW Research Center found that 70 percent of US adults admit to using FaceBook daily, while 59 percent say the same about Instagram and Snapchat.
Social media posts have been both a benefit and detriment in the landscape of communication. We can use social media posts to share news with others.
We usually follow social media posts made by our family and friends, or celebrities, athletes, and influencers. Occasionally, when we form bonds with coworkers, we will follow their accounts, too.
There is a thin line between communicating with our bosses and colleagues and social media. Well it is generally problem-free, unfortunately, others will use social media posts and messages as a way to harass work associates.
Some ways a colleague can use social media to harass you include:
- Inappropriate comments on social media posts: a coworker may leave unwanted or unprofessional comments on posts like photos. While comments can be reported, and platforms like Instagram offer sensitive content control, the mental image of the words can get tattooed on your mind.
- Forwarding non-work related or inappropriate photos or links: sharing on social media is common. We often overshare. Some colleagues may take it upon themselves to send you information you deem not suitable for a working relationship.
- Frequent messages: coworkers may also contact you too much. Even if the messages aren’t as sensitive, constant notifications from them can lead to a hostile alliance..
Coworkers may even cyberstalk a colleague. According to the FBI, cyberstalking is the intentional use of “any interactive computer service or electronic communication service to conduct activity that places a person in reasonable fear of death or serious bodily injury, or that causes or could cause substantial emotional distress”.
A coworker can even harass you in circumstances beyond your control. Imagine a situation where Jillian goes out after work with several of her colleagues. Her direct supervisor, Benjamin, takes a photo of them together, drinks in hand, and posts it to Instagram with the caption “getting wasted”.
The owner of the company is made aware of the post and threatens to have one of them switch departments due to a potential conflict of interest. This is despite the fact that Jillian was only out with her colleagues for innocent fun.
Needless to say, it’s a messy situation that may have left Jillian feeling taken advantage of by Benjamin.
It’s never OK to receive inappropriate social media messages, comments, etc. from coworkers. These messages should be taken very seriously.
If you’ve been harassed by a coworker via social media, make sure you document everything. Save message threads, screenshot any posts, copy and paste messages and email them to yourself, print them, and have them saved any way possible.
It’s also important to contact human resources at your place of employment. The HR department should take these claims seriously and help you come up with a solution. Be sure to share all the evidence you have compiled with them.
Last but not least, you should find a workplace harassment lawyer. An attorney will represent you in any suits made against your employer.
The Los Angeles workplace harassment lawyers at C&B Law Group are prepared to help you in such cases. Our team of LA harassment attorneys will guide you through the case, and work to ensure all harassing parties are held responsible for their actions.
No one deserves to be harassed by a colleague via social media. Our constant connectivity via social media should not interfere with your mental health outside of the workplace.
It’s not rare for victims to feel as if they are at fault, or to take responsibility for others actions. However, if you are the victim of unwanted social media posts, comments, or messages from a coworker, contact the Los Angeles workplace harassment attorneys at C&B Law Group today.
We work on a contingency fee basis, so you won’t pay us until we successfully win your case. Get in touch with us to learn more about your free consultation.