Just a few more examples of how bad online behavior can get people fired:
- Dudley v. 4-McCar-T, Inc. (W.D. Va. May 4, 2011): Dudley was an employee of the defendant’s McDonald’s franchise. The court’s opinion describes him as “insolent,” insubordinate,” and a “brat,” among other things, so his termination was based on a lot more than just his social media activity. Still, one of the primary incidents that the court discusses in describing the events leading up to Dudley’s termination was when Dudley posted pictures of himself and his co-workers (wearing their McDonald’s uniforms) to his MySpace page. His employer asked him to take the photos down, and he refused. Dudley was later caught complaining about the incident to co-workers, and refused to stop complaining about it.
- Wright v. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review (Penn. Commw. Sept. 2, 2011): Wright was an administrative secretary at Woods Services. To protect clients’ privacy, Woods had a policy against taking photos or videos of them. It also restricted the use of personal cell phones during business hours. Nevertheless, Wright used her phone to take a picture of a client being restrained, then posted it to Facebook. Despite her assertion of First Amendment rights, Wright was fired, and the Unemployment Board upheld the decision to deny her benefits.
- Morse v. J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. (M.D. Fla. June 24, 2011): Morse complained on her Facebook page that her employer hadn’t paid her overtime wages, and was fired. She sued, alleging retaliation under the Fair Labor Standards Act. The court dismissed her claim as a matter of law because the FLSA’s retaliation provision only applies to an actual complaint filed with an employer. Morse, by contrast, never said anything at all about the issue to her employer. Instead, she chose to simply “blow off steam” online. That did not state a cause of action for retaliation.
Employees: if you don’t want your employer to see something, don’t post it online for the world to see.