‘TikTok got me fired;’ Here’s what we should ponder before hitting send

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A woman in Denver, Colorado is scheduled to start her new job on Monday,  which was actually her old job after recently taking a higher-paying job and then getting fired from it.

Why? For posting TikTok videos about her salary.

Last month, Lexi Larson posted on her TikTok account about how she got a new job in the tech industry that raised her income from $70,000 to $90,000. The video received 168,000 views.  For the next two weeks, she posted more videos about how she got that job.

Larson said soon after her employer discovered her TikTok account, she removed some videos fearing her bosses might get angry.

In a later video, Larson said she was fired for her posts.

“So, TikTok got me fired,” said Larson, who goes into detail about knowing that talking about her salary is federally protected by law under the National Labor Relations Act and why she took down some videos.

“…they ended up firing me because they said me having this account was a safety concern because I could post something private,” Larson said.

Larson, who did not respond to USA TODAY’s request for comment, didn’t name her former employer and also chose not to pursue legal action. But her dismissal raises questions about what you can say or not about your job on social media.

Can an employer prohibit you from discussing your salary?

No, according to the National Labor Relations Act. Employees have the right to communicate with fellow employees and others about their wages. It’s also unlawful for employers to punish, retaliate, threaten or put employees under surveillance for having such discussions.

However, the National Labor Relations Board said “when using electronic communications, like social media, keep in mind that your employer may have policies against using their equipment.”

Termination with cause?

It’s not known if Larson did use company equipment, but, “the idea that her actions were a firing offense seems pretty harsh,” said Matthew Bergman, a Seattle-based attorney and founder of the Social Media Victims Law Center. “She was only there for two weeks.”

Larson could have a good case if she considers taking legal action, said Bennitta Joseph, a partner at Joseph & Norinsberg, LLC in New York. 

“She should think about contacting a lawyer if she can show she was terminated for discussing her wages.” said Joseph, who noted that most employees are usually fired for disciplinary or performance reasons.

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Can I get fired over TikTok and other social media posts?

Bergman and Joseph say employers will likely monitor employees’ social media accounts ensure employees aren’t involved in any unlawful behavior, Joseph said. 

“A company has a huge interest to make sure you are not engaging in discriminatory statements, disclosing trade secrets, threats of violence, and unlawful conduct,” Joseph said. “If they do find out that you are doing any of these, it could be grounds for termination.”

“The higher up you are, the more careful you have to be about what you post,” Joseph adds.

Bergman said many assume that what people do or say online, especially in regards to finances, is safe. But that’s not always the case. 

“I think it’s important to take a step back and be cautious when revealing personal information on social media,” Bergman said.

“Whether it’s an employer looking into your activities, or a potential swindler looking to take you of your money, I think it’s a dangerous road,” Bergman added.

He has another piece of advice.

“It’s probably better to keep your money matters offline,” Bergman concluded.

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