Showing posts with label social media. Show all posts
Showing posts with label social media. Show all posts

Thursday, May 11, 2023

A eulogy for Heather Armstrong


Heather Armstrong, the "queen of the mommy bloggers" and the author of Dooce.com, is dead from an apparent suicide after a relapse in her sobriety. She was only 47 years old. She leaves behind two children and a legacy as one of the most important social media influencers ever.

In February 2002, Heather became the first person of which I'm aware to be fired for something she wrote online. One of her co-workers discovered that Heather was the author of an anonymous blog that, in part, discussed her workplace and her co-workers. Most of what she wrote was unflattering. That person anonymously reported Heather to their HR department. She was then fired because of some of the things she had written.

Wednesday, March 1, 2023

Tweets, honest beliefs, and terminations


@realDonaldTrump I am the VP of HR in a comp outside of philly an informal survey of our employees shows 100% AA employees voting Trump!

On July 24, 2016, Kathleen Jungclaus — the 55-year-old then-VP of HR for Waverly Heights Ltd. — tweeted the above. A couple of months later, someone anonymously notified Jungclaus's superiors of the tweet. When confronted, Jungclaus initially provided shifting explanations of the tweet's origins but ultimately admitted posting it. As a result, Waverly fired her for violating its social media policy (which she had drafted). After Waverly replaced her with someone 12 years her junior, Jungclaus sued for sex discrimination, age discrimination, retaliation, and hostile work environment.

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Offensive social media posts doom airline employee’s discrimination claim


"If I were Black in America, I think I'd get down on my knees every day and thank my lucky stars that my ancestors were brought over here as slaves."

"Have you lost your cotton pickin' mind?"

"Too many [blue-eyed people] are reproducing with Brown Eyed People."

Those are three examples of Colleen Koslosky's (a former American Airlines customer service agent) Facebook posts that went viral and caused her employer to fire her.

She claimed the airline fired her because of her disability — nerve damage and edema in her leg — based on its prior denial of a reasonable accommodation. The employer, on the other hand, argued that it properly fired her after Koslosky's posts went viral, customers complained, and employees refused to work with someone they believed was "racist." 

The 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals had little difficultly affirming the dismissal of Koslosky's lawsuit.

She … claims that a male American customer service employee who was not disciplined for his social media posts disparaging Trump voters — calling them "ignorant rednecks" and "uneducated racist white people." Koslosky does not argue American management knew about her colleague's inflammatory social media posts. This is dispositive. …

As Koslosky points to no evidence of pretext, we are thus left with one conclusion: American fired her because her racially insensitive social media posts violated its policies and generated an outcry from employees and customers alike. Because this is a legitimate justification for her ouster, we are not persuaded that the company violated any law here.

This employee had no business keeping her job or winning a discrimination lawsuit. Employees are absolutely responsible for what the post on their personal social media, and need to understand that their employer can, should, and will hold them accountable when warranted. In this case, it was warranted. 

Thursday, November 17, 2022

I have zero sympathy for insubordinate employees who are fired


This is how it started.

This is how it's ended (for now).

In the intervening 48 hours, Elon Musk reportedly fired dozens of Twitter employees who criticized him publicly on Twitter and privately in the company's Slack channel. The first to go was Eric Frohnhoefer, a Twitter engineer who publicly challenged Musk's knowledge of how the app's backend actually works. Other employees, like this one, took to Mastodon to challenge Musk's termination of Frohnhoefer in obscenity laced rants.

Monday, November 7, 2022

Would you fire this employee?


Over the weekend, I asked a simple question on LinkedIn: "Would you fire this employee?"

The employee in question took to LinkedIn to celebrate Elon Musk's dismantling of Blackbirds. Blackbirds was an Employee Resource Group for Black Twitter employees to support them, foster their development, and provide them a safe space within the company.

Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Posting about litigation (actual or potential) is a terrible idea


Until yesterday, Erin Overbey worked as an editor at The New Yorker. Shortly after her termination, Overbey took to Twitter to write about her termination. Across 35 tweets, she accuses the magazine of retaliating against her because of she had previously raised concerns over its lack of equity and inclusivity. 

While the allegations are interesting, I instead want to focus today's lens on the idea of tweeting about a matter in litigation, or reasonably expected to head in that direction. What I'm about to say holds true for employees and employers.

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Is there a statute of limitations on old social media posts?


"LET ME SALUTE TO HITLER THE GREAT. He said 'i would have killed all the jews of the world, but I kept some to show the world why i killed them.'"

"F**k that Jew."

"who bothering ya!!! Let me at em! Lol if it's a Jew give me their @ and I'll do it 😂 😂 😂"

These are three examples of many recently discovered blatantly and offensively anti-Semitic tweets allegedly posted by Ismail Quran, Cleveland's "Police Officer of the Year" for 2019.

The thing is, they all pre-date Quran joining the department, and some are a decade old.

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Court upholds termination of employee for off-duty Facebook posts critical of Black Lives Matter


"Black lives" matter causes segregation. Have you ever hear[d] of "white lives" matter or "[J]ewish" lives matter[?] No. Equal opportunity.
That's what Heather McVey posted to her personal Facebook account in the wake of George Floyd's murder and the ensuing Black Lives Matter protests.

An administrator of the hospital at which McVey worked as a nurse discovered her post, and, following an investigation the hospital fired her. Its stated reason was that "she posted on her social media a clearly racist dog whistle post, which was inconsistent with the vision and the mission and the core values of AtlantiCare."

Monday, May 23, 2022

Federal court holds that the NLRB doesn’t have a sense of humor


On June 6, 2019, unionized employees of Vox Media, a left-leaning digital media company, walked off the job during union contract negotiations. That same day, Ben Domenech, executive officer of FDRLST Media and publisher of The Federalist (which is the direct opposite of left-leaning), posted this tweet from his personal Twitter account: "FYI @fdrlst first one of you tries to unionize I swear I’ll send you back to the salt mine."

Following the filing of an unfair labor practice charge by someone with absolutely no relationship with FDRLST Media (employment or otherwise), the NLRB concluded that Domenech's tweet violated employees' rights to unionize or otherwise engage in protected concerted activity, agreeing with the administrative law judge that the tweet was an "obvious threat" that "working conditions would worsen or employee benefits would be jeopardized if employees attempted to unionize." 

Thursday, March 3, 2022

Brewery CEO out after backlash to controversial vaccine comments


Vaccine mandates are a crime against humanity.

If you are not speaking out against them, you are a conspirator.
Those are the words Josh Stylman, the co-founder and now former CEO of Brooklyn, New York's Threes Brewing, recently shared on his personal Twitter account. He's also compared vaccine mandates to Jim Crow laws, the Nazi regime, and other historical atrocities. 

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

When protected concerted activity isn’t protected


Netflix has fired three marketing executives for criticizing their co-workers over Slack. According to The Hollywood Reporter, "the executives in question thought the messages were private. An insider says an employee stumbled across several months’ worth of these messages and reported it."

Thursday, February 27, 2020

PLEASE, I’m freaking begging you, DO NOT use social media to determine applicants’ race and gender


Almost as long as social media has existed, employers have searched social media to dig up dirt on prospective employees. There is nothing illegal about these searches … provided you don’t use the information unlawfully. For example, to discriminate on the basis of a protected class.

If Lisa McCarrick, a former Amazon manager, wins her lawsuit against the online retailer, Amazon is going to learn this lesson the hard way.

Thursday, November 14, 2019

EEOC settlement provides expensive lesson on including social media in your anti-harassment policies and training


EEOC v. Nabors Corp. Services involves serious allegations of racial harassment, including the following.

Being addressed at work by co-workers with racial slurs such as “nigger”; being exposed at work to offensive, racially derogatory social media images and material circulated by co-workers and managers; being exposed to racist graffiti, including racial slurs and derogatory drawings concerning Black persons at company facilities in and around Pleasanton, Texas; being referred to as members of the “colored crew” by employees and managers; and in some instances, being subjected to intimidation and physical threats by employees because of race, Black.

The company recently resolved this case, agreeing to pay 10 employees a total of $1,225,000 to settle the EEOC’s claims of racial harassment, race discrimination, and retaliation.

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Social media accounts are not telling you the whole story about your applicants and employees


If you rely on social media to paint for you a full and complete picture about your job applicants and employees, you are going to be very disappointed.

According to a recent survey, 43% of workers use privacy settings to keep material hidden from employers, and 46% have searched for their own names and taken further measures to conceal their social media presence based on what they found.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Facebook video sinks employee’s FMLA claim


Everything was going swimmingly for Thomas Dunger during his approved FMLA leave from his job as a mechanic for Union Pacific Railroad … until he decided to go on a fishing trip during his leave and a co-worker started live streaming their excursion on Facebook. A coworker showed the video to Dunger’s supervisor, who charged him with dishonesty for improper FMLA use. To his benefit (or, cynically, because he knew he had been hooked), at his disciplinary hearing Dunger copped to the fishing trip. His late-to-the-game attempt at honesty, however, did not save his job, and Union Pacific ultimately fired him. 

Monday, June 10, 2019

Do your employees understand that social media is a very public conversation?


“It’s 2019. All of our employees have been on Facebook for years. Many are also on Twitter, and Instagram, and … We don’t need to do any social media training.”

If you’ve had these thoughts or internal conversations, allow me to offer Exhibit 1 as to why you are wrong.

Texas district votes to fire teacher who tried to report
undocumented students to Trump on Twitter

Monday, May 13, 2019

Crasslighting — Oops, #NotYou is NEVER a defense to #MeToo


Gaslighting — the manipulation of someone by psychological means to question their own sanity. It’s a term you’ve likely heard of.

But, have you heard of crasslighting? Me neither, until I read Did he just harass you or are you imagining it? You might be a victim of ‘crasslighting.’ in The Washington Post.

Monday, May 6, 2019

Your employees do not understand their (lack of) free speech rights


Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech….

So reads the 1st Amendment of the Constitution.

Take note that it does not say, “You have absolute freedom of speech in all things at all times.” It only prohibits government-imposed restrictions on speech.

Yet, just last week, President Trump tweeted the following:

I am continuing to monitor the censorship of AMERICAN CITIZENS on social media platforms. This is the United States of America — and we have what’s known as FREEDOM OF SPEECH! We are monitoring and watching, closely!!

I promise you that if the President of the United States does not understand how the 1st Amendment works, your employees don’t understand it either.

Monday, March 11, 2019

What a lawful "civility" policy looks like under the NLRB's Boeing test


Consider and compare the following workplace civility policies:

Commitment to My Co-Workers
  • I will accept responsibility for establishing and maintaining healthy interpersonal relationships with you and every member of this team.
  • I will talk to your promptly if I am having a problem with you. The only time I will discuss it with another person is when I need advice or help in deciding how to communicate with you appropriately.
  • I will not complain about another team member and ask you not to as well. If I hear you doing so, I will ask you to talk to that person.
  • I will be committed to finding solutions to problems rather than complaining about them or blaming someone for them, and ask you to do the same. 

-vs-

Blogging 

Blogging outside of the hospital must not include … disparaging comments about the hospital.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

If you weren’t angry about the fired Saints cheerleader before, you will be now.


Remember Bailey Davis? She’s the New Orleans Saints cheerleader fired for violating the team’s social media policy.

Her offense? This photo, which she posted to her personal Instagram.

She’s already filed a civil rights complaint, and now she’s speaking out about her alleged discriminatory treatment, and discriminatory policies in professional cheerleading in general.