When posting information to a personal account (pictures, statements) during non-work hours, does an employee still need to consider company policies?
The key word here is “policies.” A company can publish moral or ethical guidelines the employees are expected to follow, but if those guidelines are overstepped (not legally, but simply in the estimation of the company; illegal activity is usually clear grounds for dismissal), the employee is liable to various kinds of reprimands, or can simply be bypassed for promotion, raises, etc. Internet nudity, for example, may be considered against the company’s policy of proper behavior (especially if the company is involved in trade to a conservative consumer, like school products or family entertainment), or it may be forgiven if the company deals in more mature products (liquor or real estate or investments, for example). But lifestyle choices (motorcycle gangs, excessive tattooing, extreme sports) should not affect one’s work status. The main point is to think of any Internet posting as a public utterance, no matter what “friend” network you use—it is a “statement” by you and about you in a public place. Everyone who sees it or reads it will add it to your social profile. You are the best judge of what your place of employment will do with that “utterance.” It is human nature to become more reserved as you age, and it is business’ nature to put decision-makers in an older age group, and thus a more conservative social mind-set. These natural truths should be taken into account before you post that questionable material.