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A Man Got Fired Because Of His Random Thoughts Posted on Social Networking Sites

There are more than 500 million social media users. Social networking sites have become a great platform for people to share information and express opinions. If used appropriately, social media can be very effective in job search and business.

A survey indicates that 66% employers monitor their employees’ Internet connections. Many people are well aware that they will get fired for bad-mouthing their bosses or companies on social networking sites, no matter if they keep a private setting or not. This MSNBC news video reports that a man got fired because of his opinions on Tulsa tragedy. One direct quote from his employer who fired him includes:

“… it is essential that we not become involve in public controversy either in support or in opposition of an issue …”

Afterwards, the victim’s job was reinstated. What makes the employer change the decision is out of the question. I wonder what thoughts you may have on this case. Will “no comments” seem better than “in support” or “in opposition”? Shall we stand in a neutral position on national news or public issues? After hearing this news, how comfortable would you feel the next time when you want to express your personal thoughts or opinions online? In a manager’s standpoint, what standards or criteria can be used to determine whether an employee needs to be fired for his/her comments posted on the Internet?


  1. I think that an employee should keep their opinions to themselves because there’s always an opposing side. If an employee angers a client, viewer, etc., the whole company will lose business. I think it’s a lot easier to keep your comments to yourself which will make everyone happy and not jobless. Employees are well aware that if they post a controversial opinion it will be seen by their employers. If people are unaware of this then they need to catch up to the year of 2011. After hearing this news, I would feel very uncomfortable posting personal opinions and thoughts online. I will always think twice before hitting the post button.

  2. Not only are online internet connections monitored in the work force, but they are also looked over in athletic circumstances. Constantly, we are seeing employees (as seen in the blog) and athletes getting into trouble or bad situations because they simply express their feelings or write the wrong thing online. Facebook and twitter are not only some of the biggest fads out right now, but are also providing people with a lot of trouble. 66% of employers monitoring their employees’ internet connections still seems strikingly high, but it is a necessity. You cannot have a business or athletic department looking bad to others because of one bad apple. In the case seen in the blog, the employee should not have been fired for simply expressing opinion. This country gives us the right to free speech and they were using it in a non-threatening or degrading manner. It is shocking to see how sensitive people have become when trying to preserve a good self image. Even with the woman saying we basically have no right to free speech in that sort of situation; it is completely illogical to fire someone over such a small cause. The job being reinstated is light at the end of the tunnel, but when is it too much? Are you really crossing the line by simply stating your opinion on your Facebook about a social issue?

  3. I don't think he should have been fired over this comment, especially since his comment had absolutely nothing to do with the organization, unless the organization “Coach for Kids” was a government organization funded by republicans. Even if it was, the comment was innocent, anyone would agree that the shooting of an innocent person; politician or not is not a good thing.

    I think it is okay to have an opinion in public on a social media website such as facebook and twitter as long as it is not a negative opinion on a person’s own company or employer, then they should be fired for stupidity. I know many people who lead very crazy and wild lives outside of their office, yet they get to work on time every day and do their job well. I think employers should consider the productivity of an employee before getting hasty and firing a perfectly good worker.

    In the long run, the company may just get bad publicity, which is exactly what happened in this situation, and the company was smart to hire him back or he potentially could have been sued. Not to mention, they lose money when they need to look for a new employee and train him, also have to pay legal fees.

    Lorenz Chiu 1/ 31/11

  4. First of all, when and where an employee expresses his or her opinion matters. If a employee spent working hours to make comments on social media, the employer should have the right to monitor internet traffic at workplace and even to fire some individual if the employer think it is necessary for business. However, what is happening in real world are not always so easy. For example, should international corporations fire their egypt employees who fight for their country's democracy on facebook and twitter? Even private corporations bear a great deal of moral responsibilities. But for private sector, this issue should be left to the boss to decide.

    Secondly, employers should have a clear cut regulation about what are prohibited from doing when their employees were surfing or twitting. It is better to prevent than to do damage control.

    Thirdly, considering the widespread use of smartphone, this issue becomes more tricky. Desktops and internet connection maybe paid by employer's . But smartphones are private possessions and the contents on an employee's iphone or blackberry should not be accessed by any private employers except in some legal cases. However, the employer do have the right to prohibit the use of smartphone in workplace or limit its use.


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