3 Ways Your Boss Keeps Tabs on You

You can be fired for just about any reason, from maintaining a closet Marlboro habit to sporting a "Yes We Can" bumper sticker. (The exceptions: It is illegal to terminate on the basis of race, gender, age, or religion.) That's the startling conclusion of Lewis Maltby's eyebrow-raising Can They Do That? Retaking Our Rights in the Workplace. Here, Maltby dishes on ways employers keep tabs on their workforce, and what you can do to protect yourself.

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•Taking a stand makes you a target. "There is no right to free speech when it comes to work," warns Maltby. Translation: You can be fired for simply Tweeting about the cafeteria's ho-hum tuna melts.

Protect yourself: Keep blog, Twitter, and Facebook posts unrelated to work. And exercise some common sense. If your boss, an avid hunter, hangs a moose head in his office, why antagonize him by plastering your cube walls with PETA paraphernalia?

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•Your social life is fair game. Your boss can ax you for after-hours activities that rub her the wrong way — dressing up as Sarah Palin on Halloween, for example.

Protect yourself: Before taking any job, get the scoop on a potential boss by talking to current and former employees.

•Your boss spies on you — even when you're at home. If you log on to the office network remotely, any e-mail you send, whether from Gmail or Outlook, passes through your firm's servers and is therefore accessible to your firm.

Protect yourself: Log out of the corporate network before tending to personal business. And do yourself a favor — print copies of all the glowing e-mails you've ever received from the boss. You never know when they'll come in handy.

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