Dos and Don’ts on Social Media When You are Being Bullied at Work

Dawn empowered on the bridgeIt feels great to share your concerns or your victories on social media. It can feel gratifying to get approval or “likes” on your posts.  But—can your social media posts backfire on you?  Yes, they can.  If you are venting about your workplace bullying and using a person’s name, you could be committing defamation of character.  According to http://thelawdictionary.org/article/how-do-you-prove-a-defamation-of-character-claim/:

 Slander and Libel

“There are two different types of defamation of character. The first is when someone verbally says a false statement about you. This is referred to as slander. The second is when someone writes down or publishes a false statement about you. This is referred to as libel.

The Final Step

Once you have proven to the court of law that the statement made against you was, in fact, false the last step is proving that the statement caused some form of damage to you or your reputation. Most lawyers are going to tell you that despite being the last step in the process proving that a statement has caused you harm is the most difficult part of the process. First of all, there is a clear different between a statement having the potential to cause you problems and the statement actually causing you problems. It is only considered defamation of character if the statement has actually caused you harm, not if it has the potential to cause you harm.

In order to win the claim, you are going to need to prove that the false statement has always ruined your reputation. If you are a business owner, for example, you would need to prove how the statement has had a devastating impact on your business. The unfortunate truth is that this does mean you will have to wait for the false statement to cause problems in order for the court to take action against them”.

Everyone has “rights” and if you “verbalize” or “publish” derogatory comments about another person, you could end up with a liability suit against you.  This could get very “sticky” as you will have to prove your comments as being “true”.  This could have the potential to tie you up in court and legal fees for years.  Is it worth it? Most people who are dealing with workplace bullying need an outlet to express their concerns and seek guidance from others who are experiencing the same issues.

A safer way to join a Facebook group that supports people who deal with workplace bullying is to make up a fake (pseudo name). I recommend never using another person’s name in your posts or comments, but discussing your issue in “general terms”.  If you join a Facebook group under your “real name”, be careful with what you post.  Keep out names and circumstances that could be “used” against you if it falls into the wrong hands.  There are cases where the bully or their attorney has compiled social media posts to use against the “bullied”.  It would not serve you for your highest good to have the “other side” to have ammunition to use against you.

Documentation that presents compelling evidence can be very powerful.  If you have made social media posts that could be potentially damaging to you if it gets in the right hands, do your best to delete these posts right away.

There is no way that a Facebook administrator, who is in charge of a Facebook group will be able to know who is the “bully” or “bullied” in their groups.  Anyone can request to join a Facebook group or Twitter group.  Always be careful and If you have a court hearing or an Equal Employment Opportunity Community (EEOC) hearing, the “bully” or attorneys representing the bully may attempt to find a way to access your social media to see if they can find “evidence” or posts that could help them “leverage” control over you.  For example, if you are pursuing an EEO hearing, you have signed a “statement” that you cannot discuss your case, except with certain professionals.  Your case can be thrown out by the EEOC because you “discussed” your case with others that don’t fall under the criteria of the EEOC.

For example, if you are pursuing an EEO hearing, you have signed a “statement” that you cannot discuss your case, except with certain professionals.  Your case can be thrown out by the EEOC because you “discussed” your case with others that don’t fall under the criteria of the EEOC.

Don’t beat yourself up if you have made defamatory remarks about a bully.  Just be mindful in the future and protect yourself.  You never want a bully to hold “power” over you, especially if you can prevent it.  Reach out to resources that can help or encourage you.  Be mindful of social media groups or any group individuals that focus only on the “negativity” of their situation.  Everyone’s story is powerful to them.  The caution you must take is to be mindful of each person’s contribution to the group.  Are they positive or negative?

It is very cathartic (healing) to share how you feel about your bullying situation.  However, some people will not make the effort to improve their situation.  They will wallow in their sorrow because they appreciate the “pity” attention they receive. Some of them will complain and spew negativity, but they will do nothing to help themselves become empowered.   I think most people want to become empowered and want to know how to stand up to workplace bullying.  Pay attention to the people you surround yourself with because their “energy” will rub off on you.

Last, reach out to support groups or create your own ones so you can get the help your need and the support you deserve.  Be smart and remember, “You are always on Parade”.  You are observed by people who are visible and not visible in your life.  The best revenge for workplace bullying is living well and succeeding in life.

If you need help with your own workplace bullying or discrimination matter—you can find resources on my website at www.DawnMarieWestmoreland.com