If you don’t have anything nice to say…

Mom always said, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”

Mom, of course, pre-dates the internet.  Had she been aware of the impact of social media, she might have added “ESPECIALLY on Facebook!”

By now, we all know that social media can both be a powerful tool and an unintentional (and often self-directed) weapon.  You’ve probably already seen the post about the woman who got fired for complaining about her boss here (disclaimer – contains adult language).

While no one save the two participants can tell if the depicted firing actually occurred, a more recent example is making its way into the Connecticut court system.  It seems Dawnmarie Souza was actually fired by American Medical Response for criticizing her supervisor on Facebook.  American Medical Response feels Ms. Souza violated a company policy disallowing “any employee from depicting the company in any way on social media websites without permission.”

The National Labor Relations Board has taken an interest, and filed a complaint on Ms. Souza’s behalf – its first ever on the subject of negative social media postings.  We predict the trend toward litigation will continue – the most applicable case law, like Mom, pre-dates the internet.  The article points out how the relatively new landscape of social media has much nuance to it, and there are multiple ways in which a similar case might differ from Ms. Souza’s.

Just as much as the embarrassing pictures from Mardi Gras can come back to haunt you on Facebook, so too can a status update with a suggestion to your manager about what he or she should do with your job. 

Seems Mom was right after all…

~DPO

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