Social media is so pervasive that it’s sometimes difficult to determine what not to post. Often, people refrain from posting family photos or vacation plans due to safety concerns. But that’s not the only danger of posting information to social media. Posts can also affect the outcome of a legal representation.
For example, let’s say that a business, “Orlando’s HVAC, Inc.,” contains short bios of its employees. Of one employee, owner Orlando posts, “Ernie’s work is always solid, and he’s so reliable my customers ask for him by name!” Later, Ernie is terminated from Orlando’s HVAC, Inc. Orlando says Ernie was fired for poor workmanship; Ernie claims that it was his age, and that Orlando made comments on how old Ernie was getting before Ernie was let go. Ernie may use Orlando’s previous glowing review of his work to show that his purported poor workmanship was simply a pretext and he was the victim of age discrimination.
Websites and social media sites are often the target of discovery by opponents exploring litigation. Husbands post photos of themselves and their girlfriends, only to be confronted by the information during divorce proceedings. Family members disclose confidential settlement terms, risking censure or even breach – perhaps even undoing the settlement altogether. The information is extremely easy to find with fairly simple searches. And even if the website is changed or a post is deleted, the information still exists and may be able to be retrieved by tech-savvy counsel.
Clearly, refraining from posting is the best solution. If you can’t avoid posting information, review it with a critical eye. Does it reveal any type of confidential or sensitive information? Could it be misconstrued? If the information were always retrievable, would you mind?
To learn more about how specific posts might affect your business, contact us.