Can My Company Prohibit Facebook?

"JT & Dale Talk Jobs" is the largest nationally syndicated career advice column in the country and can be found at JTandDale.com. Dear J.T. & Dale: My company just announced a "no Facebook" policy. It states anyone found on Facebook during work hours will be terminated. Can they do this? I don't know if accessing it via cell phone counts, and I'm afraid to ask for fear they'll add it to the policy. What should I do? — Kayla Dale: We get asked a lot of difficult questions. This isn't one of them. How is Facebook any different from a company banning personal phone calls at work, or making a rule about bringing in children or against taking a nap at your desk, or... ? J.T.: We get the idea. And Dale is right — if you're not part of a union, you're probably an at-will employee. And that means your company can create and implement any policy it wants to at any time, as long as it doesn't violate your basic employment rights (discrimination, safety and the like). As far as using your cell phone to access Facebook, I wouldn't risk it. The policy sounds vague. Dale: Yes, and a vague policy is like a vague law — defined over time by enforcement. Firing someone for trying to sneak around the ban would be just the thing to demonstrate the company's intolerance, something that management just might relish doing. J.T.: The upshot is this: If you have a strong feeling that the policy is wrong, and you can't live without your Facebook, then you'll just have to consider finding a new employer. Dale: Agreed — management probably is proud of the new policy and unlikely to back down. And I confess to having some sympathy for that attitude. What do you call an employer that doesn't mind its employees spending their work hours on Facebook? A takeover target. Companies that can't get their employees' attention, whether with compelling work or demanding policies, are overstaffed and in jeopardy. If you want freedom, be self-employed... and then you'll see why the boss is so demanding. JTandDale.com LogoJeanine "J.T." Tanner O'Donnell is a professional development specialist and the founder of the consulting firm, JTODonnell.com, and of the career blog, CAREEREALISM.com. Dale Dauten resolves employment and other business disputes as a mediator with AgreementHouse.com. Please visit them at JTandDale.com, where you can send questions via e-mail, or write to them in care of King Features Syndicate, 300 W. 57th St, 15th Floor, New York, NY 10019. © 2012 by King Features Syndicate, Inc. Two women on laptops image from Shutterstock

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We want YOU to be the career coach and tell us which one is the RIGHT answer!

Think you know? Vote below, and stay tuned for later this week when we announce the right answer (and why the other ones are wrong).

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In this week's episode of "Well This Happened", we want to know what you would do if witnessed a hiring manager at your organization making fun of a candidate who they had just interviewed who had autism.

We want YOU to be the career coach and tell us which one is the RIGHT answer!

Think you know? Vote below, and stay tuned for later this week when we announce the right answer (and why the other ones are wrong).

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During our weekly live Office Hours on YouTube, two of our coaches, Ariella Coombs and J.T. O'Donnell, answer questions live from viewers related to their job search, career success, on the job situations and more.

We complied a simple list of what we find to be the most common questions our coaches get about resumes. We hope you find this helpful.

Let's start with the basics...

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