Even if this person isn’t explicitly violating rules intended to keep an employee from besmirching a company’s reputation, she’s at high risk of undermining her own professional reputation.
Q: A co-worker of mine posts offensive material on her Facebook page (four-letter words and the like). I told her that it was not only offensive to me personally, but that it also reflected badly on our organization. It’s her personal page, but she mentions work and the company. She ignored me, and continues to post similar material. Now what?
A: Congratulations on doing your colleague a favor. It’s a shame that she brushed you off, because social media sites like Facebook blur the line between public and private communication in ways that can easily get employees in trouble (and routinely do).
Even if this person isn’t explicitly violating rules intended to keep an employee from besmirching a company’s reputation, she’s at high risk of undermining her own professional reputation if she’s coming off online like a character in a Quentin Tarantino movie.
If you really think that this person is doing damage to the company’s image, you should go to a manager with your concerns and let that person decide how to proceed. Alternatively, you could broach the matter with superiors as a hypothetical, and return to your colleague with a more tangible argument: “If the bosses see one of these posts, you’ll get fired for violating XYZ provision of the employee handbook.”
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On the other hand, you could simply unfriend this person, or hide her status updates. That doesn’t solve the bigger problem, but it does free you from exposure to offensive material. And, after all, you tried.
Submit questions to Rob Walker at firstname.lastname@example.org.