Almost every day brings a new example of something you can do online to get yourself fired. They serve as continuing reminders that the subtle seduction of social media can turn one unwise comment into a career-terminating event. Here are a few recent examples:
- Brown v. Montgomery County, 2011 US Dist Lexis 35811 (E.D. Pa. March 31, 2011): Brown was the platoon supervisor in charge of the County 911 Center. During the midnight shift a few nights before Christmas, Brown and his dispatchers had a party. He posted four pictures from the party on his MySpace page. "The posted photographs depict (1) a dispatcher with a Michelob Ultra box on her lap, (2) two dispatchers at a work station, with one holding a bottle of CaptainMorgan rum, (3) two dispatchers at another work station, with one holding a bottle of alcohol, and (4) Brown and another dispatcher, with Brown wearing a ball gag in his mouth and holding an anal plug." First the Director of Public Safety, then the Board of Commissioners, and finally the local newspapers got involved. Brown got the boot for "damaging the public confidence."
- Chapman v. Unemployment Comp. Bd. of Review, 2011 Pa. Commw. Lexis 189 (April 25, 2011): Chapman was a registered nurse who (allegedly) was on duty and distributing medications, but couldn't resist pulling out "her personal cell phone to post comments on her Facebook page about a coworker who had accidentally soiled her pants at work." She was fired for violating a policy against using cell phones on duty.
- On April 25, 2011, Mashable reported that "a Buckingham Palace guard has been dismissed from his royal wedding day duties after calling bride-to-be Catherine (Kate) Middleton a 'stuck up cow' and 'posh bitch' on Facebook."
And, in case you missed the update to my prior post on the subject, the social media professional let go by Chrysler for accidentally dropping an f-bomb on its Twitter feed has been hired as the Social Media Community Manager for this summer’s Ford Arts, Beats & Eats festival. The festival’s producer commented: “we needed to build in social media, and this guy worked at a high enough level to handle major automotive accounts. I’m convinced this was just an unfortunate slip-up and we’ll be the first of many second chances for him.”