Your Twitter disclaimer ("Views Are My Own"): Flimsy defense against firing

Posted on 06-22-2015 by
Tags: social media , Labor Law , Trending News & Topics , compliance , Labor & Employment

We all have our own opinions and sometimes we are bold enough to publish those online. It is ok to have them, but It may not always be safe to post them. In fact, according to Forbes, just because you have a “Views are my own” disclaimer, it does not give you immunity from being fired by your employer.

This was demonstrated in a recent incident involving New York University professor, Geoffrey Miller. Miller released the following tweet:

[Insert screenshot]

Hours later he claimed that the claim was scientific research and didn’t reflect his views. Thus, his defense poses a good question:

Does a “Views Are My Own” disclaimer make a good defense?

According to Dan Schaeffer, an attorney at law firm Neal & McDevitt which focuses on technology and intellectual property, it does not.

It certainly doesn’t have any legal effect,” Schaeffer said. It’s not going to prevent your employer from firing you if you say something that reflects badly, and it’s not going to prevent people from associating your views with your employer.

Bradley Shear, an attorney in the D.C. area agrees.

A lot of people don’t realize that just by tweeting or retweeting something, it doesn’t matter what type of disclaimer you have,” Shear said. “The fact that you are disseminating information, there are legal liabilities and risks.

Ultimately, if your company deems any of your conduct (both on and offline) to be harmful to the company’s brand or reputation, they have the grounds to fire you.

The one way to avoid running into a social media problem like Miller is through regular training . Companies should be reviewing with their employees about what should and shouldn’t be posted on social media.

What do you think? Do you agree with the reasoning? Let us know below.

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