Fired over social media post

 Fired over social media post

By Dickson Jere
A South African colleague reached out to me crying. He has been fired for posting somewhat inappropriate tweet on the Springbok after their weekend Rugby World Cup win.

“But it was on my personal page nothing to do with the company,” he tearfully narrated his ordeal, adding that he even deleted the post within minutes but the screenshots had already reached the boss. Chaps are quick to screen shot!

I sympathized with him but just to a little extent. He is a rubble-rouser. I warned him before to mind what he posts on social media given that he works for a big corporation. His name is also closely associated with that particular company. His argument for now is that the company does not have any “social media policy” and therefore he will challenge his dismissal in court. I can only wish him good luck.

You see, I have told friends, especially those in Public Relations Departments, that when updating your personal social media accounts always be careful that you do not misrepresent your employer. Same applies to Permanent Secretaries and Ministers – always make sure that your posts are in line with your employer. The PR managers speak for the company and their bosses (His Masters’ Voice) and therefore cannot be seen to peddle own opinion on social media. Unless it is something much unrelated to work and which may not be misconstrued – a thin line if you ask me. A Presidential press aide has no public opinion of his own!
“But we do not even sponsor rugby,” my friend cried out loudly. But yet his comment was inappropriate because it had some racial undertone, which the company prohibits given the apartheid background.

I know most companies in Zambia have no social media policy. I have just finished developing one for an institution here and from my quick research very few have. That notwithstanding, your employers may find hidden reasons to get rid of you purely on your “inappropriate” social media comments and posts. Always be on guard! Some of you update and make running comments during work hours. Just know big brother is watching!

Question to always ask: Can I say what I am about to post in the presence of my bosses? This is important especially for people in management as you are associated with the particular company or organization even outside work.
Sometimes we even name you after the company you work for like my good friend “Chiti Malaiti” – as for ZESCO. My brother Amon Jere was known for years as “Amon Airtel” or Dr Mulenga of Blood Bank is “Blood Mule”. So these individuals became closely intertwined with their employers’ name so much that their opinions could be misconstrued as that of the employers!

Anyway, take heed. Think before you post or comment. Unless you are like me who is self-employed and not dependent on some favours to survive.

Forewarned is forearmed! Some of you been wondering why you are not getting promoted and yet your social media posts are filthy and your bosses do not imagine you in higher position despite being hardworking.

If you are addicted to social media, kindly use pseudonym names – like my little sister whose Facebook name is ati “Ndani Iwe”. Just imagine posting half nudes on your Instagram account and yet you work as PA for religious affairs Minister Godfridah Sumail! It’s fire!
Blessed week friends as I also slowly disengage from social media!

The Independent Observer

John Sakala is a Journalist yearning for independent journalism

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