A Social Media Blunder Can Cost an Employee of Any Rank Their Job

By Eric B. Meyer

Here’s more proof that both entry-level employees and C-Suite executives can do dumb stuff.

When I go out to eat, I’m not that picky. While I often have a taste of fine dining, I can do beer and wings with the best of ’em.

I like my beer cold and my wings spicy. I take these two things for granted when my food is served to me. That, and the person preparing the food has a shirt on.

No shirt, no sense, no job

About that shirt: Last week, a Chili’s cook was fired, not just because he worked without a shirt on in the kitchen, but because he posted those shirtless pictures of himself on Facebook.

Ewww!

According to Edward Lawrence, in this article at WFTS Tampa Bay, an ABC affiliate, Chili’s employee known as “Justin Speekz” labeled the pictures “Sexy Cooks Of Chili’s,” and even tagged the restaurant in the post.

A Chili’s Bar and Grill spokesperson said in a statement,

Chili’s clearly does not encourage this type of behavior in our restaurants. We maintain very high standards of food quality, safety and cleanliness and took immediate steps to ensure the restaurant continues to follow these requirements. Additionally, we ended this team member’s employment after learning of his conduct.”

“Lil Girl” tweet gets PGA President impeached

The Associated Press reports that Professional Golf Association President Ted Bishop lost his job over a sexist tweet:

He referred to [pro golfer Ian] Poulter as “Lil Girl” on Twitter when stacking up Poulter’s feats next to [Nick] Faldo….”Really? Sounds like a little school girl squealing during recess. C’MON MAN!” he wrote.”

Mr. Bishop apologized. However, the PGA followed through with the impeachment, finding the comment to be sexist and inconsistent with the association’s policies.

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Think before you post

Along with that, I can bust out any number of kitschy social media warnings from my toolbox.

Let’s see, we’ve got “social media is viral and it never forgets” (with this example). And, of course, “there is no such thing as off-the-clock social media use.”

But, the tie that binds these two examples is the nature of the offense and the employer response. That is, social media aside, two employees violated two employer policies and the two employers enforced their policies without regard to rank, salary, or seniority.

Social media use adds another dimension to employee discipline. But, don’t forget the basics.

If you have a policy, and an employee violates that policy, take appropriate action.

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.

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