More social media and workplace firings

It seems that social media is creating an environment where “firings will continue until moralw picks up”, or it just could be that Asher Moses knows he on to a good thing so his editors keep him writing about it…

So far in April Asher has written five different articles around social media sites and losing your job, that is one every four days! This comes after the flood Conroygate in March. Having said that this all makes great content for this blog so I hope Asher and his editor keep it up.

April 2: Facebook comments by prison guards had them being threatened with disciplinary actions according to one of the guards:

the comments on the Facebook group were largely suggestions of ways Corrective Services could save money without having to privatise prisons. Some disparaging comments were made against senior officials but these were largely “tongue-in-cheek”.

“I personally have no idea who I’ve supposed to have bullied and what comments I’ve made that are defamatory,” the officer said.

“It’s a big waste of taxpayers money to investigate us for having an opinion, the irony of it being that some of the cost saving suggestions we’ve made have actually been implemented.”

April 3: Facebook discipline may be illegal has workplace lawyer Steven Penning saying:

He said employment contracts are unlikely to cover staff use of social networking sites.

“What employers are doing is they’re scrambling and trying to make out that present policies can be stretched to cover these new areas, and in many respects they can’t,” Penning said.

April 8: Facebook snitches cost jobs we have more and more examples of people losing their jobs, although in this article Asher starts to reuse comments by Steven Penning to keep the story moving. Here we have a 20 year old losing her jobs for saying “saying no to working for shitty Government departments” on her Facebook status and then Jane Morgan who said her job sucked so she was sacked.

April 16: Has our dirty Domino crew from the US who were fouling up customers’ food. They were caughtby their YouTube vidoes and have been arrested.

April 17: Finishes the list with accusations that companies are now hiring firms like SR7 to track down dirt on employees so employers can discipline them.

I think things have got a bit out of control, on both sides of the fence. Let’s break this down a bit. 

  • Not wanting to work for shitty Government departments, fair call and most people I talk too tend to say that all Government departments are shitty. I know a heap of people working in the Government who have spoken negatively about their workplaces both online and offline, shall we sack them all? Eventually we might just run out of workers.
  • The prison guards, again my personal view is they seem to want to help, maybe the Department of Corrective Services should sit down with them and listen to their ideas. Usually people only lash out after they have backed into a corner. I have also found most workers actually have great ideas about how to improve the workplace.
  • A workplace with snitches “telling on you” over your Facebook status is a bit like primary school, and I tend to like a place where people get along. Unless of course you are blatantly causing harm to the reputation of your employer. But even then will one small remark from a low level employee really damage the reputation of a large company? The potential PR storm you could have as took place in the UK is a bigger issue I would think. Take this further I know a public officer of a multinational who was alleged involved in a road rage incident, all covered by the press. That guy kept his job, so a Facebook status is not that harmful, really is it?
  • SR7, there are always people out there trying to profit on things that might be considered border line ethically.
  • The Domino’s example, yep sack them but this is not a social media issue.

This is really just setting the scene more later, 

A final note, I will be speaking about these issues in early May in Sydney and Melbourne for FCB Workplace Lawyers, details soon.

(This post has been updated following editorial feedback.)

6 thoughts on “More social media and workplace firings

  1. You would think that employers would look at this the other way around. Finding the people that are willing to voice an opinion regarding their working environment could be infinitely more useful in improving that environment for others than traditional “suggestion boxes” or employee satisfaction surveys. If employers wanted to get a better ROI on the investment of people monitoring these types of communications, they could dedicate at least a part of those resources to turning the sentiments that they find around. The possibility that the “my job sucks” sentiment could be correct seems to have escaped them.

  2. Great article! I didn’t realize how social mediums really shine the spotlight on everything you say if you’re not careful.

  3. Karla, you may be making the assumption that all employers are interested in or value what their employees think. There are lots of “us and them” situations out there .

    But even if an employer is genuinely interested in hearing suggestions from their employees, I can’t imagine many employers would want the content of their suggestion box to be open to the public on a social networking site.

    Why should employers tolerate their employees writing critical posts on a blog or public facebook page? I’m sure employees wouldn’t like it if their employers criticized their performance on a social networking site.

  4. What an absolutely ridiculous article. This has not ‘set the scene’ for anything. A year later an workplace firings due to social media are minimal.
    Your foresight about companies providing social media monitoring (SR7) is clearly wrong. Ethics isnt even a consideration in what they do.
    You in fact are the scaremonger.

  5. Jamin, thanks for stopping by, seems I stirred you up a bit with the post.

    Agree we have seen less reports of firings however from my work with HR departments people are being let go due to their actions online. My comment on monitoring was that done incorrectly would be clearly unethical.

    Once again thanks.

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