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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’.

Published: 2020-12-16
Pages:141 to 161
Section: Articles
How to Cite
Hook, Sarah, and Sandy Noakes. (2019) 2020. “Employer Control of Employee Behaviour Through Social Media”. Law, Technology and Humans 1 (December):141-61.

Author Biographies

Western Sydney University
Australia Australia

Researching at the intersections of law, literature, and legal theory Dr Hook’s research centres on authors and artists and creative freedom. Her research looks at romanticism, postmodernism and contemporary modes of textual production and how these ideologies intersect with legal contexts such as defamation, copyright, government regulation, regulation of the press, and other impediments to the free exchange of ideas and expression. Her recent projects have been looking at the culture of social media as opposed to traditional copyright and other legal frameworks. Dr Hook is a lecturer at Western Sydney University where she teaches Media law and Government and Public Law. 

Western Sydney University
Australia Australia

Sandra is a PhD candidate at the University of Wollongong and Lecturer in Law and Director of First Year Studies and Engagement at Western Sydney University School of Law.  She has worked as a tutor, lecturer and Unit Coordinator for over 15 years in Law Schools at Western Sydney University, Macquarie University and the University of Wollongong.  From 2005 -2007 she was a Visiting Fellow at Macquarie University.    Since 2005, she has held the position of Revising Examiner in Real Property Law for the Legal Profession Admission Board. Whilst in legal practice, Sandy was a Senior Associate with Phillips Fox (now DLA Piper) and a consultant to McArdle Legal, an employment and industrial relations law firm in Sydney. Her main areas of interest are legal education, employment law, labour law, work health and safety law, and property and trusts.

Open Access Journal
ISSN 2652-4074