Employee Posting Inappropriate Requests on Twitter
Sunith Baheerathan was fired from a Toronto area Mr. Lube after it came to his employer’s attention that he had posted to Twitter, while he was working, requesting that a dealer bring marijuana to his workplace so that he could get high in order to help him make it through his shift.
The Tweet drew the attention of many, including the local police, who sarcastically tweeted back asking, “can we come too?” Someone – presumably the police – notified his employer, which promptly terminated Mr. Baheerathan.
This case is another example of how an employee’s conduct on social media can have a serious impact their employment.
The Employee Fired After Seeking Marijuana on Twitter While at Work Reminds Us to be Mindful of Privacy Settings
As use of social media, like Twitter, Facebook, Reddit and LinkedIn, becomes increasingly common, slip-ups like this one will have a greater likelihood of being seen by one’s employer. Employees would be wise to be mindful of their privacy settings, being specifically careful of who can see their activity, and to only post sensitive content to private spaces.
A more cautious strategy would be to treat all social media like a public forum. The Internet has a long memory, and comments made in passing or intended for a private audience can easily wind up surfacing later, and causing trouble that could have been avoided.
Employees should certainly be careful about social media use while they’re on the clock. However, they would be well advised to be just as careful outside the workplace. If an employer gets wind of some conduct outside of work that is sufficiently serious, such as criminal activity or a violation of a workplace rule, the employee could face termination or other discipline. Employers would be well advised to implement a social media policy, in order to protect their reputations and business interests from inappropriate employee activity.
Employee Fired After Seeking Marijuana on Twitter While at Work Should Speak to an Employment Lawyer
It isn’t known whether or not Mr. Lube alleged that it had just cause to terminate Mr. Baheerathan. Whether or not there is just cause to terminate an employee will always depend on the facts.
In most terminations where there is no just cause and the employee was not given notice, the employee is entitled to compensation. Any employees who find themselves in trouble over social media activity should strongly consider speaking to an employment lawyer, as should any employers who want to discipline or terminate an employee in relation to inappropriate social media use.