The “resignation” of a CNN editor due to comments made via Twitter was a big story last week. (See Tweet At Your Own Risk: CNN Editor Learns the Hard Way). But it certainly was not the first story involving an employee terminated for something he or she posts online, whether it’s on Facebook (see Eagles Employee Gets Benched for Comment on Facebook Page), a personal blog (see Employee Fired When Her Sex Blog Is Discovered by Her Boss), or, like the CNN story, via Twitter.
We’ve covered plenty of stories about employees who tweet themselves out of a job. Despite the fact that these stories seem to make the news on a daily basis, employees still do not seem to have grasped the fundamental idea that anything and everything you post online can be used against you by your employer. Ok, well, not discussions of union activity, but just about everything else. Everything, that is, that would impact the employer negatively or put the organization in a bad light.
Recently, the Huffington Post highlighted 13 of these stories, focusing on employees who were fired as a result of [allegedly] inappropriate tweets. We’ve covered several of the stories here before but some of the ones we’ve missed are worth a closer look:
Number 4 on their list is the story of radio host Mike Bacsik. who tweeted, “Congratulations to all the dirty Mexicans” in response to the loss of his favorite basketball team, the Mavericks, to the San Antonio Spurs. Bacsik, who was a professional baseball player before his radio gig, was fired as a result of his racist comments, despite having tweeted an apology the following day.
Number 8 is the story of a former employee of California Pizza Kitchen, who apparently did not care for his employer’s new uniform mandate. The employee, who used the Twitter handle, @Traphik, tweeted, “@calpizzakitchen black button ups are the lamest shit ever!!!” Not surprisingly, management was alerted to the tweet and used the information in @Traphik’s bio to trace the tweet back to the bitter employee.
Number 13 is from the health-care field, an industry that faces significant challenges with social media. In response to a tweet by Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour, Jennifer Carter, a former nursing-school employee at University of Mississippi Medical Center, tweeted that one way for the State to cut expenses would be for the Governor to “Schedule regular medical exams like everyone else instead of paying UMC employees overtime to do it when clinics are usually closed.” Apparently, Carter was referring to an incident that occurred prior to her employment but that didn’t stop her employer from concluding that she’d violated HIPAA’s privacy requirements or from “compelling” Carter to resign.
See also, these posts on social media and its impact on the modern workplace: