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CFO fired for leaking 'company information through social media'

A few weeks ago, we discussed the dangers posed to employees (prospective or current) by posting potentially costly information on social networking sites for all to see (such as an employer -- again, prospective or current). It is a particularly important topic when you consider that some lawmakers are trying to get your Facebook login and password, and that the National Labor Relations Board says that many companies use social media policies that are "unlawfully broad."

Around the same time we discussed this issue, the Chief Financial Officer of a retail company called Francesca's was probably checking one of his various social media accounts and must have let slip some private information about his company -- because he was fired. Francesca's claims they found that the CFO "improperly communicated company information through social media."

It may have been a legitimate dismissal as there is no information about the former CFO making an appeal on the grounds of a violation of his employee rights. But it does serve as a reminder that even those high up on the company ladder can fall victim to a social media mistake.

Going back to the comments of the NLRB, there is mounting evidence that the use of social media at work (and even after work hours) can lead to disciplinary action against an employee. TribeHR, a human resources company, studied data from companies around the globe and found that roughly 40% of them claim that the use of social media by employees is an issue.

Other information is emerging regarding penalties placed on people who use social media, and the rising prominence of such an action. In 2009, only 24% of companies said they disciplined an employee over a social media matter. That jumped to 42% in 2011.

Source: Los Angeles Times, "When social media gets you fired: Francesca's CFO is out," Tiffany Hsu, May 14, 2012

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