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While not universally applicable, social media has contributed to a decrease in the separation between our personal and professional lives. In other words, social media has blurred boundaries. 

With just a few taps on our smartphones, we can share our thoughts, experiences, and even frustrations with the world. But what unfolds when personal posts on the most popular platforms like Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and Twitter backfire, such as leading to job loss? Employees may be legally dismissed (for just cause) if they publicly post or share comments that are considered inappropriate, offensive, or potentially harmful to the organization’s reputation.

This blog navigates important considerations for both employees and employers understanding workplace social media policies as well as keeping boundaries between the two.

Can I be fired for posting on social media?

In short, yes. Ontario employers can terminate employees based on their social media expressions. Despite employees’ freedom of expression, employers are obliged to ensure a conducive and positive work atmosphere, which involves monitoring public comments made by employees outside the workplace. Consequently, employees may face dismissal of their employment if their publicly shared comments are deemed inappropriate, offensive, or potentially harmful to the organization’s reputation.

Ontario Labour Code and Social Media Posts

While the Ontario Employment Standards Act protects the rights of employees, it also delineates the rights of employers. Here are two crucial points to note:

  • Employees can be terminated without prior notice or compensation if dismissed for Just Cause.
  • Just Cause typically involves behaviour serious enough—either independently or in conjunction with other factors—to warrant the employer ending the employment relationship.

Best Practices for Social Media Usage

Be mindful of company policies: Make sure to acquaint yourself with your workplace’s policies, including any recent updates or changes. These policies act as a manual, describing online conduct. Corporate policies address social media utilization during work hours, representing the company’s image online, and upholding a respectful digital manner.

Separate professional and personal accounts: Consider establishing distinct personal and professional social media profiles e.g., Facebook, Instagram, or TikTok for personal use, and LinkedIn for professional networking. This division helps in preserving a distinct boundary between your personal and professional life. Remember, exercising caution regarding the content you share on your personal platforms is still essential. Even if an employee’s social media post is set to private, employers may still become aware of inappropriate or offensive posts if they are shared or circulated by others.

Consider the consequences of posting: Your digital footprint can have a lasting impact on your reputation and employment opportunities. Be mindful of what you share on the internet. Before hitting ‘post,’ consider the potential consequences of your post. Could it harm your chances of finding future employment? Could it damage professional relationships or tarnish your reputation in your industry? If the answer is yes, it’s probably best to keep your thoughts offline.

Employers and Social Media Posts

Employers can take disciplinary action or terminate employees for inappropriate social media posts, even if they’re made on personal accounts. In situations where such action is being considered, particularly for off-duty conduct, certain steps and considerations should be taken into account.

Prior to making any decisions regarding disciplinary measures or termination, it’s crucial to thoroughly investigate the incident including outsourcing expert advice from employment counsel if applicable. This ensures that any actions taken are fair, reasonable, and able to withstand potential claims. 

Employers should assess how the employee’s actions impact the organization which could include asking the following example questions:

  • Does the behaviour genuinely damage the organization’s reputation or its products in a tangible, non-speculative manner?
  • Does it hinder the employee’s ability to perform their duties satisfactorily?
  • Does it reasonably create reluctance among other employees to collaborate with the individual?
  • Does the behaviour impede the organization’s ability to effectively manage and direct its work and workforce?

Implications for Employers

Further to the termination of employees, employers must also keep in mind the discussions they have when conducting termination meetings. Recent trends have shown that employees will record their termination meetings and upload them on large social media platforms such as TikTok. Some of these videos attract millions of views and garner unwanted or negative attention for the employer. Due to the significant impacts social media posts can have on the organization, employers should consider following precautions and take steps to plan ahead in order to avoid legal and reputational risks related to termination meetings.

Employers should be mindful to avoid saying anything that could be raised in a legal claim in the future. Recorded termination meetings may be used as evidence in legal proceedings, such as wrongful dismissal claims, or labour disputes. The recording of termination meetings can have implications for the employer’s reputation as well. Employees who feel they have been treated unfairly or disrespected during the termination process may share their experiences online. This can potentially damage the employer’s organization and reputation.

Thus, in today’s digital age, termination meetings should be carefully planned and executed. With this in mind, employers should always conduct termination meetings in a respectful and professional manner to avoid reputational risks.


Your social media content can potentially reach a wide range of audiences, including your colleagues, supervisors, and clients. It’s important to understand and adhere to your employer’s guidelines and policies regarding online behaviour. Consider how various individuals might perceive your posts and whether they align with your professional image and objectives. By approaching social media with caution, respect, and clear communication, both employees and employers can mitigate risks and maintain their professional reputations intact.

If you were fired for social media posts, or otherwise, we encourage you to contact Toronto employment lawyers, Sultan Lawyers, online or by telephone at 416-214-5111 today.

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