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What rights does your employer have to your Twitter feed?

As a person on the internet, you have a great deal of freedom. Most believe that internet’s anonymity is absolute, but that is not necessarily the case. What happens if you find yourself in conflict with your employer over the things you post online?

Your online opinions are entirely your own. However, a recent case involving the NFL raises some important points. A former cheerleader for the Miami Dolphins filed suit against the team claiming they discriminated against her Christian beliefs as stated on social media. She said their practices regarding her posts made for a hostile work environment which led to her quitting the team.

Not an isolated incident

The NFL’s policing of cheerleaders’ social media posts does not stop at their religious beliefs. Another cheerleader alleges she was fired for posing in lingerie on Instagram. These cases have multiple similarities:

  • Both Cheerleaders’ personal lives were watched by their employer
  • Their employer has different personal conduct rules for cheerleaders and football players
  • Rules that should apply to both are enforced unevenly

How many times has a football player thanked God after a win? How many times has a football player appeared shirtless on Instagram? Neither of these would be fireable offenses for the football player, so why should they be problems for cheerleaders?

Complicating the issue is the gender breakdown of football players and cheerleaders. Some argue that different roles require different rules, but why would those differences need to extend to a person’s personal life and social media?

The rules must apply to everyone

This is a classic case of employers acting in ways that benefit one group over another. While this is a public example of discriminatory practices, it is not isolated. Every single day employers apply their rules in unfair ways that single out women and minorities for arbitrary reasons. It should not be so hard to apply the rules fairly.

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