CBS Atlanta News takes in-depth look at your online rights - CBS46 News


CBS Atlanta News takes in-depth look at your online rights

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Social media is increasingly becoming the primary way many of us communicate.

"It keeps me in touch with my family and close friends," said Anjel Berry, who uses Facebook.

But if not used properly, Facebook could also cost you your job.

"I'm in a state of shock. I was at the time and I still am," said Misty Roberson.

Roberson said she was recently fired from Harbin Clinic Pediatrics after she posted that the clinic could not treat her sick daughter.

"I posted on my Facebook wall that after being at the immediate care for two hours, I finally have answers to what was wrong with Alli's fever because work had no appointments, can you believe it," said Roberson.

Roberson said more than two dozen of her friends responded to her post by posting about their bad experiences at the clinic. Roberson said she immediately deleted the posts, but it was too late. She said she was fired for violating her job's social media policy.

"It's embarrassing," said Roberson.

It also could be illegal.

"The company is not allowed to fire people, retaliate against them or write them up because they have engaged in that kind of conduct," said Amanda Farahany, an attorney who specializes in labor law.

"You can say on Facebook, I am not getting paid enough for the work I do, or I have been working more than 40 hours in a week and my boss refuses to pay me the overtime, or I am being sexually harassed at work or I really wish my boss was better at the way that he manages," said Farahany.

CBS Atlanta News' Bernard Watson asked Farahany if someone could post, "My boss was so mean to me. He yelled at me today, he was being a total jerk."

"You could say things like that, but as you get further away from saying he is a jerk, it gets further away from the protected conduct that you want to be a part of," said Farahany.

Farahany also said there is reason for caution.

"There are some new laws that are being passed now that says an employer has the right to request your password on Facebook, which means not only is it not private, they are going to see everything you see even when there are things that you don't want other people to see," Farahany said.

Albert Grassia is an internet security specialist. He helps companies protect their network and keep an eye on employees. He said if you use social media at work or home on a company-owned computer, tablet or phone, you're asking for trouble.

"I was working with a client and it turns out there were some employees that were talking bad about some supervisors. That information was being recorded in real time and it was being emailed back every day to this one supervisor, and the supervisor had called everybody into the office and it wasn't a good day for some of the employees," said Grassia.

"My best advice is to stay off Facebook when you are talking about work. Don't get on Facebook at work, don't talk about your work on Facebook, but that being said, if it turns out you do and you engage in that kind of protected conduct then you are going to want to talk to an attorney or federal agency to protect your rights," Farahany said.

Roberson has been unemployed for nearly seven months and she said she's struggling financially.

"I feel like I've been wronged here and I've not done anything," said Roberson.

For more information on how to file a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board, click here.

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