10 reasons why you should never "friend" your boss.
As social media grows ever more prevalent, it gets harder to separate our professional and private lives. Even so, mixing business and pleasure can be a very big mistake.
Let these Facebook slip-ups be a lesson to you...
1. Moaning about work
We've all had bad days at work. Even the chief taster at an Easter egg factory will get fed up eventually. But complaining about it on Facebook is one of the quickest routes back to the Job Centre. In May 2010, an American waitress called Ashley was fired from her job at a North Carolina pizzeria. Her profile criticised "cheap" customers who only leave $5 tips.
2. Telling everyone you hate your boss
If there's one person it pays to befriend, it's whoever's in charge at work - so surely adding them on Facebook will pave the way for a pay rise. But what if your "friend" reads insulting comments you've left on the web? In August 2009, a girl known only as "Lindsay" found out the hard way when she branded her boss a "pervy w**ker" who makes her do "sh*t stuff" all the time. He publicly replied: "I'll pop your P45 in the post."
3. Getting caught on camera
When it comes to maintaining an image of professionalism, the camera is nobody's friend. It's hard to predict what daft weekend antics could land you in trouble, but they're easier to deny when there's no photographic evidence. In 2008, an American cheerleader was kicked off her squad after photos appeared on Facebook showing her posing beside a half-naked, unconscious man, his body covered in offensive graffiti. Worst of all, she still had the marker pen in her hand.
4. Leaving inappropriate comments
As the lines between our work and play get blurred, it's always best to stay on the right side of what's appropriate. A good rule of thumb is to never say anything on Facebook that your peers and society would frown upon in real life. School teacher Chadwin Reynolds was sacked when he "friended" his female students and wrote things like "this is sexy" on their photos.
5. Planking on the job
Planking is a strange online craze which sees people being photographed lying face down in obscure locations or public spaces. In September 2009, a group of seven doctors and nurses were suspended from Swindon's Great Western Hospital. It emerged they'd been planking on resuscitation trolleys, ward floors and even the hospital's helicopter pad. A spokesman for their department said: "At no time was patient care compromised."
6. Saying what's on your mind
Perhaps you're convinced that your friends will agree, but on Facebook it's rarely worth saying what you really think. In April 2011, a guardsman at Buckingham Palace was disciplined after posting some not-so-nice comments about Kate Middleton. Cameron Reilly was forced to relinquish his role after calling Prince William's bride a "posh b*tch" and a "stuck-up cow".
7. Speaking out of turn
There are certain things any business would rather its customers didn't know. Sharing confidential plans or spreading rumours about your employer online is an obvious reason for dismissal. Virgin Atlantic fired 13 of its staff, after each had used Facebook to insult their "chav" passengers and mock the airline's standards. The crew members also alleged that cabins were infested with cockroaches.
8. Being in contempt of court
In November 2008, a jury member was dismissed after asking friends on Facebook to help her decide whether three men were guilty or innocent. "I don't know which way to go, so I'm holding a poll," she wrote. The trial continued with 11 jurors, but legal experts said the case could've collapsed as the woman risk being charged with contempt of court.
9. Choosing the wrong "friends"
There's an old, outdated saying that goes, "you can't choose your friends" - Well, on Facebook you can and that's something we all should be thankful for. It's not just your comments that can get you in trouble, but also whatever your buddies write. In fact, you could even be landed in hot water for simply adding the wrong people as friends. In 2009, prison officer Nathan Singh was fired for gross misconduct, after befriending 13 known criminals through Facebook. An investigation started when he was suspected of supplying inmates with mobile phones and other contraband.
10. Using Facebook when you shouldn't
If you phoned in sick, your boss might be angry when a photo of you riding a log flume shows up. They'd be just as annoyed to find you tending crops on Farmville when you're actually supposed to be working. In April 2009, a woman from Switzerland lost her job after her manager noticed she was on Facebook while supposedly too ill to use a computer. She had claimed to have a migraine so bad she couldn't leave her darkened bedroom.