The new Linkedin “Active” status works like messaging apps such as Facebook Messenger, Whatsapp, WeChat, Telegraph, etc. where it notifies your contacts (in this case, even potential contacts), if you’re online. Furthermore, unlike the other messaging apps, the Linkedin messaging app will also show whether you’re available on your mobile device or not.
This feature is yet another example and extension of the “always on” culture of contemporary corporate life. The vast majority of employers already monitor your every mouse move and keyboard stroke. Now, your employer will be able to monitor your Linkedin status and gain some insight as to whether you’re perhaps looking to jump ship.
While firing someone over their Linkedin “Active” status may seem extreme, it’s hard to discount the negative perception that results when an employer believes the employee is spending much more time than is necessary in “Active” status.
Employers who find out may choose to take action, although depending on your region, “the mere fact that you were looking for another job does not, by itself, constitute a serious form of misconduct” (ref below). Technically, they are required to pay severance for employees terminated for this reason, under the law of dismissal, unless there were other factors such as serious misconduct, theft or dishonesty. While there may be limited legal grounds for dismissal over Linkedin status behaviour, the reputational damage has already been done.
If you’re going to be using the new Active feature, we’d like to recommend some best practices:
Control who sees this “Active” status on Linkedin if you’re on the lookout for a new gig by adding your management and co-workers to the hidden list
Realize the hidden list tool is far from perfect and you can only hide your status from people you’re explicitly linked to but you can’t block everyone from your current employer.
While Linkedin is a holistic business networking tool, many people will primarily associate this new Active status networking for job changes. Make sure you understand how it can work for you, and against you. Verify your settings.
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