The Fort Myers Fire Department has new rules for its employees regarding how they interact on social media.
FMFD joins many other employers who are watching workers on the job and now at home, according to NBC2 in Fort Myers. The department says it needed to make these changes after a firefighter got heated on social media, when his co-workers were laid off.
Some local residents are upset about this new policy saying, “It's a violation of your privacy,” and “Employers don't have the right to tell you what you can and cannot post. That's your business. What you do at work should be separate.”
Attorneys who were interviewed for the local NBC story said, even though workers are guaranteed the right to free speech, an employer is also guaranteed the right to run a business the way they see fit.
Florida is among 25 right-to-work states. In this case, lawyers say, your boss can easily hand you a pink slip, if your online post affects the business' reputation or even causes it to lose money.
Among the rules in the department’s new social media policy was this: “Employees will not post any material on the internet that brings discredit to or may adversely affect the efficiency or integrity of this department.”
Attorneys say disciplinary action may be a little tougher if you're in a union. Also, they say there's still no legal precedent on what a government agency can tell its employees regarding social media use.