Employee posts on social media have been a hot topic in the business world for several years. Because Missouri law sets out “at-will” employment, private businesses can generally fire employees for any non-discriminatory reason, including the content of posts on their social media accounts that may reflect poorly on the business. The question then arises: are employees who are fired for social media posts on their personal accounts eligible for unemployment benefits?
Definition of “misconduct”
Though unemployment laws vary from state to state, every state disqualifies employees from unemployment benefits if they are terminated for “misconduct.” State laws, however, do not have consistent definitions of misconduct for the purposes of unemployment. Previously, Missouri had a narrow definition of misconduct though state legislators significantly broadened the law1 in 2014.
Now, Missouri unemployment laws2 define misconduct as the following:
- Conduct that is reasonably related to the job
- Whether or not the conduct took place at work or while the employee was off-duty
- Includes a knowing violation of employer rules or a disregard of the interests of the employer
- Negligence or carelessness that rises to a disregard for the employer’s interests
- Chronic tardiness, absences, or no-call, no-show against employer policies
- Conduct resulting in suspension or revocation of a professional certification or license
- Violation of employer rules
The important change in the law that can relate directly back to social media-related termination is that the conduct does not have to occur “at the workplace or during work hours.” In fact, this change seems to directly address social media posts since these usually take place from the employee’s home or on their personal time. This new language in Missouri unemployment laws may negatively affect employees when it comes to receiving benefits.
Contact a St. Louis Unemployment Attorney today
While it is always a good idea to limit what you say on social media in the first place to avoid a problem, you should always contact an experienced unemployment attorney if you have been terminated for reasons related to social media. Call the Law Offices of Kenneth P. Carp at 636-947-3600 to schedule a consultation today.