Everything is Bigger in Texas – Even Employee Stupidity on Facebook

By Eric B . Meyer

A Texas court held earlier this month that an employer lawfully fired a paramedic who posted on the Facebook page of a co-worker that she wanted to slap a patient.

But, the plaintiff’s rant isn’t the worst of it.

When warned by a co-worker that the plaintiff’s Facebook post was accessible by the general public, the plaintiff responded — publicly on Facebook:

Yeah, whatever. YOU weren’t there. Whenever I have to have a firefighter ride in with me because of a patient’s attitude, and I fear for MY safety, I truly believe a patient needs an attitude adjustment. Think about that the next time YOU correct someone!”

Public Facebook posts aren’t “private”

As you can imagine, once the company got wind of this, it fired the plaintiff for being “unprofessional and insubordinate.” Subsequently, the plaintiff sued for invasion of privacy.

Invasion of privacy? Yes, invasion of privacy for accessing Facebook posts. That were public. That the plaintiff was told were public. That the plaintiff acknowledged were public. Plaintiff loses. (You can read the decision here.)

Article Continues Below

Did I mention that the Texas court that decided the case was an appellate court? The plaintiff appealed her initial defeat — one that I previously blogged about here.

And y’all wonder why our legal system sometimes gets a bad rap. Oy!

This was originally published on Eric B. Meyer’s blog, The Employer Handbook.

You know that scientist in the action movie who has all the right answers if only the government would just pay attention? Eric B. Meyer, Esq. gets companies HR-compliant before the action sequence. Serving clients nationwide, Eric is a Partner at FisherBroyles, LLP, which is the largest full-service, cloud-based law firm in the world, with approximately 210 attorneys in 21 offices nationwide. Eric is also a volunteer EEOC mediator, a paid private mediator, and publisher of The Employer Handbook (www.TheEmployerHandbook.com), which is pretty much the best employment law blog ever. That, and he's been quoted in the British tabloids. #Bucketlist.

Topics