Employer Control of Employee Behaviour Through Social Media
When once individuals could ‘clock off’ for the day and retreat into private spaces, these private activities are increasingly prone to being recorded, tagged and shared and brought to the attention of an individual’s employer. The unavoidable necessity for people to engage with each other online has blurred the boundaries between work life and private life and has meant that, increasingly, employers seek to control what employees do and say online, which requires individuals to carefully modify their behaviour in once private domains. As individuals become inured to the realities of being tracked and mined, the resigned cynicism of the situation is creating a culture where freedom to ‘be yourself’ is undermined. This paper will explore examples of individuals who have faced consequences at work for their online behaviour in what once would have been thought of as their private domain. Using surveillance theory, it will seek to ask whether such a gap in the legal and regulatory sphere is at risk of submerging the individual into a docile workforce which is never ‘off the clock’.