Social Media Posts That Can Get You Fired

Social media can be a wonderful tool in helping you land a job, but it can also jeopardize your employment.  Below are mistakes that people have made that have cost them their jobs. 

Posting your offer letter can have consequences- The News Journal in Wilmington, Delaware offered a job to a young reporter who had just graduated from a journalism program.  He shared his excitement on his Tumblr blog using the company’s logo and quoting from the offer letter.  The post took the form of an unauthorized press release. The Journal rescinded the offer saying that the reporter had illegally used the company logo and was not to quote from the offer letter.

Yes, a job offer is good news that you may want to share but be very careful how you share it on social media.  Do not post the actual letter or quote from it.  Also, do not include the company logo in your post.  Above all, never give out confidential information about your new company.

Venting about customers/patients can get you fired– In my home state of Idaho, a nurse was fired for a compliant he posted on Facebook.  Joseph Talbot, a licensed practical nurse, posted “Ever have one of those days where you’d like to slap the ever loving bat snot out a patient who is just being a jerk because they can?  Nurses shouldn’t have to take abuse from you just because you are sick.  In fact, it makes me less motivated to make sure your call light gets answered every time when I know that the minute I step into the room I’ll be greeted by a deluge of insults.”

Desert View Care Center, Talbot’s employer, had a social media policy stating that employees were to avoid slanderous, vulgar, obscene, intimidating, threatening, or other bullying behavior electronically towards any facility stakeholders.  Because Talbot violated the policy, the Care Center fired him.  Talbot filed a lawsuit when he was denied unemployment benefits.  The Idaho Supreme Court upheld the Care Center’s decision and Talbot was deemed ineligible for unemployment. 

Don’t assume your social media posts are private– Janis Roberts was a paramedic with CareFlite, a helicopter ambulance service.  Roberts posted that she “wanted to slap” a patient who needed restraints during a transport.  Her employer got wind of the post and asked her to take it down.  Roberts responded by telling her company “Yeah whatever, a patient needs an attitude adjustment.”  CareFlite then fired Roberts for her post and also for her insubordinate and unprofessional behavior.  Roberts subsequently filed a lawsuit asserting CareFlite violated her privacy regarding her personal Facebook posts.  The Texas Court of Appeals dismissed the lawsuit for lack of legal support. 

Be smart in your use of social media.  Remember that posts can be discovered by your organization, so think how your employer would react before your post a comment.  A little caution will go a long way in advancing your career.

Stacy Harshman

Stacy Harshman, founder of Your Fulfilling Life, brings her experience as a recruiter for a Fortune 500 corporation to her work as a career coach. In addition to helping people discover their passions, she also provides clients with insight into the mind of a recruiter, unlocking the secrets of what employers look for in potential employees. Stacy offers individual and group coaching in person and by phone to those seeking positive change in their professional lives.