Almost everyone has at least one social media account, and most account holders visit social media several times each day. Working for the federal government means that your professional and some of your personal activities undergo close scrutiny. In particular, the Hatch Act governs what you can and can't do on social media in your capacity as a federal employee. If you're unsure of your freedom of speech rights as they pertain to your job, a family law attorney can help.
Know the Standards of Conduct
All federal employees must abide by the Standards of Conduct. These standards don't stop a federal employee from maintaining a personal blog, writing as a guest blogger, sharing opinions on social media, or having one or many social media accounts. However, these rules limit what federal employees can do on social media during their hours of duty on the job. They also limit your ability to use social media for personal gain. Consulting with a child custody attorney ensures that you understand the Standards of Conduct and how they relate to the use of social media platforms.
Understand the Hatch Act
The Hatch Act applies to all federal employees. It governs their ability to express and participate in political activities on and off duty. Federal employees may not engage in political activity while on duty or in a government building. They may not solicit contributions for a political party, politician, or political candidate. Federal employees are prohibited from accepting any type of political contribution. This means that a federal employee may not ask for political donations on social media. They may not post about politics or political candidates on their personal social media pages while on duty or in a government-owned building.
Some federal employees have additional restrictions under the Hatch Act. For example, they may not write a blog post on their personal blog or a guest blog endorsing a candidate. They may not pass out literature for any candidates.
The Hatch Act does allow federal employees to express a political affiliation. They may post that they identify with a particular party or voted for a certain candidate on social media. If you're unsure of what you're allowed to do on social media or a personal website, consulting with a child custody attorney will clarify your concerns.
Caution is key when posting on social media. If you're unsure whether posting on Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, or another platform could affect your employment with the federal government, it's wise to consult with a family law attorney.
For answers to your questions about social media guidelines for federal employees, contact John P. Mahoney, Esq., Attorneys at Law today!