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New Jersey lawyer focusing on special education law and employment law

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Employees: Think Before You Post

In a previous blog post, I wrote about teachers who were terminated for posting derogatory comments about their students.

But now, it seems that every week, there’s a new story about an employee who posted something on social media and was either disciplined or terminated. Here are a few recent examples:

  • Exhibit A: 23-year old teacher posted tweets on Twitter, apparently joking that she had weed in her car and graded papers while being stoned.
  • Exhibit B: A customer tipped a waitress at Applebee’s 10% and wrote in the receipt, “I give God 10%. Why do you get 18%?” The waitress was terminated for posting the receipt on Facebook.
  • Exhibit C: An employee posts on Facebook “I’d like to get fired, pretty please…” Well, guess what happened?
  • Exhibit D: A barista at a coffee shop was terminated for blogging “snarky” comments and nasty tweets about his supervisors and customers. Such comments included:

“I would remember your usual drink if you were a more memorable person”

“My only goal for the month is to figure out how to pour a picture of a middle finger in latte art”

“I want the cafe customers to feel welcome… And just slightly afraid” and

“My boss watches the cameras at the cafe. But he’d save time if he just followed by twitter to see that I’m not working.”

  • Exhibit E: An employee posted on Facebook photos of herself enjoying a beer under the sun in Mexico. The problem? She was actually on medical leave under the FMLA (Family Medical Leave Act). The employee was terminated.
  • Exhibit F: After watching a Super Bowl commercial of two actresses pole dancing, a spokesman for a Congressman tweeted, “Me likey Broke Girls.” The spokesman was terminated.

The Business Insider has a list of 17 people who were fired for using Facebook, though not all of those people are in the United States. The Huffington Post has a list of 13 people who were fired for tweeting inappropriate comments.

Despite these recent news reports, employees are still getting themselves into trouble by posting inappropriate comments or photos on their Facebook, Twitter, or blog accounts. It is clear that employers find these comments and photos unacceptable.

For those employees who didn’t read “Facebook and Your Job,” I’ll repeat what I said there:

If you’ve read every word in this blog post, it should be pretty obvious what the take-away lesson is: Be careful about what you say on social media. Even if a Facebook comment or photograph does not justify termination, the cost and stress of litigation can be enormous.

To sum up: Think before you post.

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