In light of a recent case of an employer hijacking a fired employee’s LinkedIn account, we have decided to tell you how to keep your boss at bay when it comes to social media accounts.Although the case is still ongoing, the federal judge dismissed several of Linda Eagle’s claims against her former company, Edcomm.
The judge found Edcomm could not be held liable under a federal anti-hacking law for Eagle’s missed business opportunities—over $100,000-worth, she claims—following the hijacking of her LinkedIn account.
• Establish, in writing, whether a social media account—and this may be Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.—is a solely personal account or belongs to the company.
• If it is a personal account, do not share your password with a co-worker, assistant, or boss. This is exactly what Eagle says allowed Edcomm straight access to her account—no hacking experience needed.
• Move to a state such as California, which somewhat protects an employee’s personal social media accounts from nosy employers. The state’s law, however, only protects personal accounts. So still follow the rule of establishing what type of account you hold—personal or business-related.
Despite these loose guidelines, there is still much room, legally, to dispute ownership of a LinkedIn account.
The main reason for that is the unclear definition of “personal” and “business-related,” Goldman has written in Forbes.
In the case of a LinkedIn account, users probably use it for both work and personal purposes. Ultimately, Goldman wrote, the courts will probably have to spend a lot of time figuring out when employers actually have a right to these “mixed accounts.”
In the meantime, the best thing for you is not to mix business and personal matters, at least online.
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