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TikTok on the Clock...or Not?

Updated: Jan 13, 2023

You've probably heard countless stories of workers getting fired for posting TikTok videos of themselves at work. Whether it’s discussing one’s salary, inadvertently filming a company meeting in the background, or getting caught dancing in between photocopying, posting work-related TikToks is risky.

Actually, even if you are not technically at work, posting on TikTok can get you canned. Just ask Ex-Apple executive Tony Blevins who was fired after posting a TikTok video of himself at a car show where he made a joking reference to “big-breasted women.” While Evans was not at work at the time, the high-level execs crass joke still got him the axe.

Should you TikTok on the clock?

The answer is yes…and no. Many companies use TikTok as a part of their marketing mix. With over one billion users worldwide, it’s no wonder why TikTok has become a go-to marketing platform for businesses. If you are a social media influencer or work for a company that encourages employees to use TikTok, by all means, TikTok away, but if you don't fall into either of these categories, you need to be aware of "TikTok...Terminated."

Employee Advocacy Marketing

TikTok has become such a force to be reckoned with that some businesses are encouraging and even paying their employees to make TikToks at work. For instance, Dunkin’ encourages employees to share their work experiences and favorite eats and drinks on TikTok. Some of these vids have amassed millions of views which translates into brand awareness. But not all employee-sanctioned TikToks result in success. A Dunkin’ worker’s “explosion prank” - using a filter on TikTok to simulate an explosion- went bust after an employee tried the prank on his manager. The post has garnered over 1.2 million views to date, but after the "explosion" police and emergency vehicles pulled up at the store and Dunkin ended up getting billed for this expense.

Federal Restrictions

The city of Charlotte, North Carolina plans to completely remove TikTok from all city devices by Jan. 6, 2023. Employees had been blocked from TikTok on the city's network since Dec. 21. While this might seem like an extreme measure to some, government workers might see this increasingly as the House of Representatives has already banned Tiktok from House-issued devices amid security concerns. The rumor is that other states and federal agencies will follow. So, if you're a TikTok addict, you might consider an intervention before applying for federal positions.

If you are not banned from using TikTok at work, and you find TikTok-ing irresistible, the guidelines below could help you avoid getting "TikTok Terminated."

1. Ensure TikTok-ing at work is not against company policy

You find a better job and you're excited to get started. You quickly thumb through the employee manual, sign it, and date it. Not so fast. You could have overlooked the company's social media policies. If your company prohibits TikTok-ing at work, then obviously you risk "TikTok Termination" if you decide to post anyway.

2. Don't wear a company uniform in your TikToks - whether at work or not.

This is especially true if you're doing something questionable in your TikTok. You run the risk of a viewer thinking your employer endorses your actions since you are in a company-issued uniform.

3. Don't bad mouth your company.

This might seem like a no-brainer, but employees have become so comfortable posting TikToks about work, they sometimes forget these vids can provoke retaliation. For instance, Mary Gundel, a former top-performing manager at a Dollar General in Tampa, Florida, shot a six-part expose, “Retail Store Manager Life,” in which she exposed what she considered unacceptable working conditions. She was fired shortly thereafter.

TikTok at your own risk

When in doubt, don't TikTok at work, especially regarding employment related issue. Even if you are not officially on the clock, TikTok-ing can lead to termination or resentment from co-workers and managers. If your first thought is, "I'll probably regret this," then you probably will.

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