Facebook: The New Water Cooler for Networking, Kvetching, and Possibly Cause for Firing

Nov 19

Facebook: The New Water Cooler for Networking, Kvetching, and Possibly Cause for Firing

If you haven’t already heard, about two weeks ago the first case in which an employee was fired after criticizing her supervisor on her Facebook page reached the National Labor Relations Board.

The case involved an emergency medical technician who worked at American Medical Response of Connecticut. According to the company, the employee allegedly mocked her supervisor on Facebook, using several vulgarities to ridicule him. This violated a policy that bars employees from depicting the company “in any way” on Facebook or other social media sites. The labor board stepped in to argue that workers’ criticisms of their bosses or companies on a social networking site is generally a protected activity and that employers would be violating the law by punishing workers for such statements.

This case is not as cut and dry as I have summarized here, but it does raise legitimate issues for all employees and employers. Obviously, all companies should implement an Internet and social media policy and have it reviewed to determine if they’re in violation of any labor laws. And any employee who goes online to trash his or her boss or company should think more than twice about doing so. It’s only common sense (duh?), even if you have a legitimate complaint. Go to Human Resources; go to the source of the problem. Or, if you’re going to kvetch, it’s one thing to say something privately to a co-worker, another thing to have it in “print” for the world to see – and to think that this would be okay. It’s sort of like email. Something happens that you’re unhappy about…and you’re about to respond by sending out an email using language that reflects your ire. You’re reacting, not stopping to think about the implications/ ramifications once you hit that SEND button. You need to re-think, not SEND, and consider what you’re writing. You can’t take it back.

With Facebook, you get a real sense of what people are like and how they view the world and how they react to things. There are those that share everything, they have no filters. It’s literally an open book to peoples’ lives. There are others who are selective about what they say and share, personally and professionally.

The thing is you’ve just got to use your noggin…what do you think?

One comment

  1. Ron Williams /

    Using The Facebook as a sounding board for criticizing or venting in an inappropriate manner is absurd. You would think that the more intelligent of our species “gets it” straight-away, and are all too wise to post our “inner feelings” in such a way as to get ourselves into predicaments that will come to “bite us in the ass.” (don’t you just love “”?).

    That said, any moron who is foolish enough to post blatant attacks or vitriol aimed at Supervisors or Superiors who may well terminate us from our current employment gets “exactly what they deserve.” MORONS!!

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