Thursday, September 05, 2013

Terminated for Facebook Post

I recently read a blog post where a fellow blogger had been asked to resign from her job. Her offense - posting on her personal Facebook account that she wanted to make a career change.  One of her co-workers printed out the update and conveniently shared it with the blogger’s manager. This blogger who had been with her company for eight years was immediately forced into resigning and escorted out of the building.

Here are a few lessons from this story:

Work friends are not real friends
Do not share your inner most thoughts with your co-workers. They may not be good at keeping secrets or worse yet may use this information against you or to better their own career. 

Do not friend your co-workers on Facebook:
This includes clients, vendors and business associates.  Business and work-related contacts belong on LinkedIn, not Facebook.

You never know who will stumble across your posts:
Clients, vendors, neighbors, or your husband's ex-wife – you just never know. Your inner-most thoughts belong in your personal journal not on Facebook. I know of someone not hired for her dream job because her Facebook postings were not in line with the company’s mission.  Even charity work can be held against you if it is for the wrong political party, religious affiliation or agency.

Be careful what you write in an email:
Emails can be forwarded and archived. They can also be submitted as evidence in court cases.

In most states, employment is at will:
That means your employer can fire you at their discretion for any reason, even if there is no reason.

If at all possible do not sign anything:
If you sign a letter of resignation you may have difficulty collecting unemployment benefits.

Owners of small and family owned companies may take your displeasure with working at their company personal:
I know of more than one employee who was terminated after their boss learned they were looking for another job. I even know of one who was terminated when her manager overheard her telling a vendor her life (meaning her job) was a hellish nightmare. Keep your job-dissatisfaction to yourself until after you've secured a new position.  Even then never burn a bridge.  You never know where your boss or former co-workers may end up.

Always apply for unemployment:
Hating your job is not considered misconduct by most state’s unemployment panels. If you can prove you were coerced into resigning, you may be eligible to receive unemployment benefits.  Submit a claim to your state's employment security department. After receiving separation information from both you and your employer they will make a determination.  If gross conduct can't be proven typically benefits are granted.

Do you have any lessons to add? Do you know of anyone who was not hired or terminated because of Facebook?  


  1. Definitely be careful with what you say! You never know if a coworker will blabber everything that you told them.

  2. Yes please be careful that's why I am careful who I friend on FB as a matter of fact I am going through my FB feed right now getting rid of people I don't even know.

  3. this is such an important post! i used to blog about my work, until a client called up my boss and said i had made my company look bad. i was told i had to clear any reference to the company in my blog, and that any further incident was cause for termination. i almost passed out on the spot, i thought i was going to die. anyway, i cleaned up my act and learned my lesson.

  4. Here's a few more tips
    1. Be careful what you write especially nasty things about other people, you maybe sued for it. (Its happened here in South Africa)
    2. If your employer requires you to like the company page then adjust your privacy settings so you're in control of what they see or get a separate facebook account for work

  5. Great contribution, Savvy! FB is really dangerous. Your point about work friends not being real friends as also right on point.

    The world of communications is changing so fast, and it is so tempting to be right there with the newest, neatest thing. It's often hard to remember that the folks who run businesses - large and small - may not be so casual in their communications. We need to keep things separate.

    I don't use Twitter, but suspect one should not comment on anything related to one's business there, too.

    I think this is harder the younger you are.

  6. Anonymous8:46 AM

    All of this is why I haven't put my last name on my blog or twitter. It's why I'm "The Anonymous Blonde". Since I work full-time and blogging is only a hobby for me, I don't want to be "google-able" to anyone that I work with! I like to eat and have a roof over my head, so I have to balance that with what I blog about.

  7. OH WOW something similar actually happened to me too. I was working as a financial planner in a bank branch and I wrote a blog post about wanting to become an author. My employer asked me to take it down and when I didn't they fired me. Worst-experience-ever.

  8. I keep telling my Financial Algebra students this but they keep posting things on Facebook that may haunt them forever. A neighbor told his boss he was retiring in a year in order to give the company time to replace him. He was fired since he wouldn't be concentrating on his job. Ouch. I am retiring in a year and told my boss. He said they would start looking six months ahead since I would be hard to replace. Nice compliment but you never know how someone will react.

  9. Ugh. What a rotten story. Thanks for the great reminders to think and be careful.

    Happy Sharefest.

  10. This is all very good advice! When I was working, I never added anyone from work on Facebook or spent time with them outside of work. Yes, we were friends at work, but it's a different and less personal kind of friendship. And as for the internet, I've never put anything online about where I worked. Not even in my Facebook profile. I just feel better keeping work completely separate from my personal life.

  11. M at Making Sense,
    So true.

  12. Kita,
    That is another good point. Overtime you may not even know some of the people you've friended. Or forgotten you had friended your co-worker.

  13. Catherine,
    What a horrible way to learn this lesson. To be honest there are quite a few people out there who are nosy and enjoy looking for dirt.

  14. Sammyjoe Dube,
    That is another good point. I don't know of any instances, but there could be huge repercussions if the posts were slanderous or breached confidentiality clauses.

  15. Webb,
    I've read tweets where tweeters are bashing their managers, co-workers and companies. They use their real names. Can't imagine that will work out well. Plus there are those radio hosts that have tweeted really stupid things and have lost their jobs. To be honest I haven't updated my personal facebook account in over a year. I use it to see photos of my nieces and nephews and keep up with friends who don't live close by.

  16. theanonymous blonde,
    Even though I blog anonymously I still sometimes change minor details in posts to make it harder for anyone to link them back to me.

  17. Tahyna,
    How awful. I imagine your bank didn't want their clients to think you were not 100% committed to managing their money. It seems petty, but I suppose anything the customers could see as a negative is probably frowned upon.

  18. Sheila,
    I know of an employees who was fired after they told their employer they were going to retire in two years. They reorganized the company based on his departure and organized him out of a job. At 64 he can't even get an interview. Glad to hear you are trying to teach your students about the dangers of facebook. Maybe a couple of them are listening.

  19. Miss Robin,
    Thanks for the comment.

  20. Mandi,
    Great advice. I don't have my workplace on my personal facebook account either. For me facebook isn't a promotional tool. It is just a way to keep up with family and friends.

  21. Love the tips - all good ideas. I am even careful what I say on Facebook because I don't want my mom to know everything, LOL.

  22. Teressa,
    Another great reason.

  23. Yikes! Perhaps the benefits of Google+ circles concept. T

  24. Lara,
    Possibly, I would still be careful.

  25. Very good advice! Thanks again for sharing with Throwback Thursday linkup and congrats on being my Featured Blogger this week!

  26. Anonymous9:43 AM

    Such good advice! I think a lot of people forget that anything you put on Facebook, or a blog, or anywhere on the interwebs, is out there for public consumption by anyone who looks in the right place.

  27. Ugh, this is so hard to navigate because, unfortunately, social media has also become a way to network when you're looking for new opportunity. but I also know someone who lost out on a plum role because of a FB post. You just have to be so careful.

  28. Such good advice! I am amazed what people are able to pull off the internet to use against others. Kinda scary!

  29. Anonymous6:55 PM

    This is great food for thought. I do have work friends on Facebook and try to be thoughtful about what I put online, but you never know how someone is going to interpret what you post. (BTW, I discovered this via the #ThrowbackThursdaylinkup)

  30. I wish I would of known these great tips sooner! Thanks for sharing on the #throwbackthursdaylinkup!

  31. All very good information and things to remember! It is so difficult sometimes to remember to keep people at arm's length at work. Spending so much time with people during the day makes it hard to not get to know them and want to make friends.