Monday, December 13, 2010

Can Facebook get you fired?

I had an absolutely fascinating discussion with Jeff Allan this morning about the case of two British Columbia car dealership employees who were fired after posting nasty things about their bosses on Facebook. Jeff hosts a show on Kitchener's 570News radio station, and they often have me on to talk about all things tech and what they really mean to us.

The employees in this case appealed the decision, saying it was related to their involvement in getting the dealer unionized. The BC Labour Relations Board rejected the appeal, so they're still very much fired, ostensibly for assuming their Facebook rants - which included thinly veiled musings about committing violent acts against dealership managers - were somehow privileged because they weren't delivered on-site, or they were said outside of business hours.

Naive only begins to describe these two - and pretty much everyone else who fails to understand the power baked into social media tools like Facebook, Twitter and even blogs (like, OMG, this one!) Time and again, people think they can say what they want online, and do so with complete impunity. Right.

News flash, folks: Anything you can and do say in the court of social media can and will get you fired. Before you click Publish or Send, ask yourself if what you're about to commit to Internet eternity will do you and your career more harm than good.

In other words, think.

Your turn: Thoughts?

Links:
- Jeff's blog
- Podcasts from past shows

23 comments:

Kalei's Best Friend said...

It definitely has gotten some folks fired here in the States....I think most don't realize what TMI means...Even opening yourself up too much on social sites can cause problems... There are a lot of scammers out there who will post a life and death situation, we've all seen the one incident of a teen who had a baby and was asking for donations... come on...
U are definitely right- re-read before u hit publish.. and even then u can still delete it.

Tabor said...

Posting your thoughts to the Internet world work the same as posting your thoughts on page one of the city newspaper. You can get fired, divorced, shunned and lose friends and/or make enemies of family members. Freedom of speech comes with a price.

sage said...

Good point. I often shake my head at what I see people posting on FB.

Vicki said...

The "written word" certainly has a greater effect on situations. I have heard of people NOT getting a job because of what they have posted on their FB about their interview. Once it is written, it only takes 1 person to see it. It's so easy to save it and pass it on.
The rule of thumb I try to abide to:
If I wouldn't want my Spouse, children, or parents to see or hear it ... don't put it out there.

Serendipity said...

I hate when my comments from CNN's facebook page are displayed on google when I google myself even though my fb account is private.

Anonymous said...

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Yvonne said...

Definitely agree with you. I've seen some pretty nasty posts from friends about their bosses, their jobs, their coworkers -all being referred to by their real names,etc. It's reckless and irresponsible, not to mention stupid! Anything you say can and will be held against you in the court of cyber posting! :)

kcinnova said...

I was active on social media before my teens caught the bug, and I've tried to model appropriate behavior. Namely, I don't post anything that would embarrass me in front of my mother-in-law.

When I google my blogname, I find both my own posts and comments I have made on other people's posts.

Krissy said...

I know of a guy who got a drug test because he was smart enough to post a picture of him dressed as a priest (I hope it was Halloween) smoking a bong on his Facebook account. Genius, right?

http://talkativetaurus.blogspot.com/

Scented Sweetpeas said...

I write lovely things about my work on facebook, does that mean I get a promotion ? :-)

ib said...

Agreed. My father is a fraudulent claims investigator and when trying to find out if the client is full of poop, the first place he checks is FB and Twitter. He has busted a few people faking neck injuries and the like.

Twain12 said...

i'm very selective on what i share online, once it's in cyber space that is it.

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

What's Facebook?
~

Max said...

I've heard the saying that once you post it, it's there forever. Somewhere, there's a backup of your post even if you've deleted it.
As for getting fired, last year the school district I work for made it official policy that teachers and students are not allowed to be friends on Facebook.

Levonne said...

This post is sobering Carmi. When I am speaking honestly online, I try to stay simultaneously aware that this is a public statement that I'm making. Honesty and authenticity as a writer can be a balancing act with protecting self as a wage earner. I grapple with that every time that I write on social media sites.

dennisthemennis.co.uk said...

honesty is the best policy right? probably not! its a dangerous place for sure. I came across a post recently of an 'Adult' yes an adult calling my 14 year old daughter crude names, I tell you it wasn't long before the comment was deleted.

I have a an app thats collects my statuses, one day I shall read them and cringe!!

Karen S. said...

Oh yes this has and is happening in our town! Some people need to learn to vent on paper and throw it away! But no matter what you tell or show many people they will go on putting their foot in their mouth while the rest of us will just happily find better experiences!

Kole83 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kole83 said...

I've actually had two people put in jail because of Facebook. I work in the US for the County Courts in my state. Two clients decided to post some very nasty things about me on thier Facebook thinking I didn't have one and that it wouldn't get back to me. Well they were very wrong. Not only did I find out about it, by friends and co-workers calling to tell me they saw the post, I printed the posts out and gave them to the Judge. They recieved a lovely little vacation in the County Jail for a few weeks.

Maybe they will learn that nothing is private once you hit "submit".

Pat Tillett said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pat Tillett said...

So true! When you throw threats into the mix, "thinly veiled" or not, the writer is history... Especially in this day and age.

I'm sure the BC labor board found that there was nexus between the items written and the workplace.

There is one thing worse than making these types of statments relating to work. It's knowing about them and doing nothing. Because of that, these days errors will usually be made on the side of doing too much, rather than doing too little.

great post!

Chibi Janine said...

Reminds me of the people who do stupid things at work while the boss is away, filming it then putting on you tube. Then wondering why they are getting into trouble.

awareness said...

This is an ongoing issue I deal with at the College I work at. Students constantly overstep classroom boundaries by sharing their opinions with one another on Facebook. Sometimes it crosses the line into the area of harassment. It is so childish and can be quite debilitating. I've had to intervene on more than one occasion with a whole class regarding the nastiness written in status updates and comments. It blows my mind that people don't have the respect or decency to keep their fingers off the keyboard.

I blame Jerry Springer.