Monday, March 9, 2009

Fired for Facebook

Everyone is well aware of the popularity of social media outlets such as Facebook. What you post on Facebook has sparked quite a debate. Career guidance services suggest that you tone your profile down, particularly with pictures, so that potential employers won't see you in a bad light.

First of all, when you create a Facebook profile, atleast back when I did, by default your profile is restricted only to those who you are friends with or are in a network with. So the whole get-rid-of-your-pictures debate has always confused me...just restrict your profile to people you know if it isn't already! You should be doing that anyways. On the other side of it, I had pictures of me drinking and/or obviously drunk in college on facebook; if an employer somehow saw them and decided not to hire me based on college drinking pictures, that's not somewhere I'd want to work. If there were a picture of me taking a bong hit, that'd be another story.

I bring this up because, it shames me to say, my Philadelphia Eagles made an executive decision based on what a seasonal employee said on Facebook. We're talking about a seasonal, game-day employee who worked as a gate chief, his name being Dan Leone. Now let's get to the juice of this story...Dan was fired because of what he posted as his status on Facebook: "Dan is (expletive) devastated about Dawkins signing with Denver...Dam Eagles R Retarted!!"

I admit it's not exactly Disney-esque but hey...this guy is just saying what every other Eagles fan was thinking once they heard the Dawkins news. I'm not sure how it was discovered; if Dan was friends with other employees through Facebook, then yes, it was kind of a dumb thing to do. Even if he wasn't, you probably shouldn't badmouth your employer online. But to get fired automatically? And over the phone? I should also mention that this poor guy has transverse myelitis, a neurological disorder that causes muscle fatigue, and he apologized for what he posted multiple times. This reminds me of the post I made way back regarding a CNN employee that was fired for blogging. I'm sure this Eagles employee did not have any Facebook-clause in his contract.

If these issues are becoming more prominent, and you're going to get fired without question, employers need to put it out there at the time of hire and let you know that there is a zero tolerance policy for using Facebook, Twitter, blogs, etc. to talk about the company. Since social media is a part of most of our lives these days, how free are we to use it?


Mike said...

FWIW, even restricted pics aren't really restricted on Facebook. If a friend is tagged in the album of someone who's not your friend, you have access to the album of the person whose friend you aren't (if that makes sense...).

KW said...

Yea I get that, but still there's a connection there. People make it sound like employers can just do google searches to find your facebook pictures.