Monday, May 17, 2010

Waitress Fired for Facebook Status Update

Ashley Johnson was a waitress at Brixx Pizza... until she posted the wrong status update on Facebook. The Charlotte Observer reports on Facebook Post Costs Waitress Her Job.

Apparently some customers came into the pizza place and camped out for about three hours before leaving a measly $5 tip. So what was the offending status update (ear muffs kids...):
Thanks for eating at Brixx,you cheap piece of ---- camper.
It's not clear from the article, but I'm guessing the hyphens were replaced by the letters H, I, S, and T (in not quite that order).

Ms. Johnson allegedly broke two of her employer's policies:
  • A policy against speaking disparagingly about customers; and
  • A policy against casting the restaurant in a negative light on social networks.
There are lessons for employers and employees here:
  • Employees: Careful what you say on the Internet! Especially when you're discussing your employer.
  • Employers: It might be time for a social media policy. In situations like this, it helps to be able to point to a policy provision explicitly referencing social networking sites; and
  • Employers and Employees: Know the rules of the relationship. Employers should clarify their expectations regarding social media use, and employees should read the employer's policies in that regard.
Public employers need to be careful though! Public employees have free speech rights and the line between what speech public employers can limit and that which, under the First Amendment, they can not is often hard to follow.

HT: Centre Daily Times: Waitress Fired for Griping About Tip on Facebook.

Posted by Philip Miles, an employment lawyer with McQuaide Blasko in State College, Pennsylvania.

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