Wait You Cant Fire Me
Lets just say you had an extremely hard day at work and you get on Facebook to well–relieve some animosity you have towards your boss. You go to work the next day only to hear the Donald Trump words of doom “Your Fired”. You sit there feeling miserable for yourself pondering what you may have done between, the time you got off work and the time you walked through the door. That’s when it dawns on you, you bad mouthed your boss on a popular little social networking site called Facebook. [Insert shock horror sound effect here] As you wipe the look of shock and humiliation off your face the little sound-box in your throat vibrates and you utter the words “Wait is this because of the Facebook comment?” Your boss gives you a look of disdain and says “Absolutely, I will not tolerate the bad mouthing of individuals as well as the company.” Did you really do something bad enough to get you fired or is this another case of a bruised ego. Either way it goes this may just be your lucky day.
Recently I read an article about Dawnmarie Souza of Connecticut. Souza was terminated from her job with this similar scenario, for violating the companies “Internet and Blogging” policies. What Ms. Souza’s employer didn’t realize is they were in direct violation of certain laws that protect employees’ right to talk about wages, working conditions and other factors. Souza was on her personal computer, during her personal free time, at her home which is her personal space so therefore her remarks made about her employers were considered protected speech according to the NLRB. ( National Labor Relations Board) It’s safe to say Souza won in a settlement with her previous employer and she may not have to work for a while again.
So what does this mean for you? No, it’s not cool for you to randomly go online and bad mouth your employer with the hopes that you too will win a huge million dollar settlement. Variable location, timing, tone and content of Facebook comments mean that not all Facebook posts are protected speech so you should exercise good judgment before posting about your workplace.
I pose these questions: Do you think that employees should be able to go home and freely vent about their frustrations at work without being reprimanded at work the next day? How are employers suppose to protect the integrity of the company if employees are constantly bad mouthing it? Are we really still held to the expectations that we represent the company once were on our personal time? I honestly would love to hear your opinions, please comment below!