Fired for Social Media
In the past few weeks, I’ve heard quite a few stories of employees being fired because of certain content on their personal social media accounts. Personally, I think it’s 2 way street – companies should respect the employee’s personal, private matters and employees should respect their place of work.
It is unecessary to bad-mouth a client, a co-worker or your employer on social media. If you have a problem at work, discuss it with the appropriate and involved individuals instead of making it personal in a public sphere. If you’re really unhappy, just leave.
At the same time, an employer must respect that employees are individuals, and not robots. Having a bit of responsible fun that does not reflect badly on the company, on your own time, should be completely acceptable.
Let’s talk about some people that were fired for the content on their social media.
Ashley Payne, a 24 year old teacher from Georgia was fired for posting pictures of herself consuming alcohol at a bar in Dublin while on vacation. Payne claims to have her Facebook privacy settings set to the highest. However somehow, a parent managed to see these pictures of her and filed a complaint to the school board. This is a situation in which a company should respect the employee’s private life. At the end of the day, we’re human. Ashley Payne was of legal drinking age and on vacation at the time – by no means is she being a bad role model.
22 year old Connor Riley was fired from Cisco after she tweeted this:
In this situation, it’s a 100% the employee’s fault. If you’re only working at a company for a “fatty paycheck” and aren’t going to be enjoying the work, it will probably reflect in the work you do and the company has complete rights to terminate you on such grounds.
Restaurant employees uploading photographs of themselves playing with food in unhygienic ways, employees bad-mouthing clients or employers or even calling employers out for something that may be morally wrong are all situations in which it is perfectly acceptable for employers to take action.
Situations where employees are taking a stance, political, or otherwise, expressing their distaste or dislike of a certain event, or occurrence, or their views on a product (that is not a client) or posting photographs of themselves having responsible fun, are not good grounds for termination.
Those are my personal thoughts on it. Here is what the rest of my team had to say on this topic:
Jennifer Stack: I think that people are entitled to their personal platforms and opinions. That being said, I also think that individuals who choose to state where they work need to be conscious of their public statements and behaviours reflected on that platform as they are then representing the company if they disclose their association. Obviously, all NDAs and contracts should be respected at all times.
Dylan Thompson: I believe in freedom of speech over social media to an extent. As long as you aren’t personally bashing the company you work for, affiliated brands, etc. you should be allowed to speak your mind. Social Media is the perfect way to vent your frustrations, and you shouldn’t be punished if you aren’t directly hurting anyone.
Casie Stewart: If you put your company in your bio, potentially everything you say can be used against you as you are putting your name to a brand. if you don’t want to be judged (or fired) for what you say, leave all professional associations out of your profile. Also, don’t drink and tweet.
Do you think it’s fair to be fired for something you say on your social media account?