Some people never learn: B.C. workers fired after dissing employers on Facebook

by Knowlton Thomas


In Pitt Meadows, a small town on the outskirts of the greater Vancouver area, two car detailers were fired for posting homophobic slurs and threats online against their bosses—who were, in an unprecedented level of stupidity, also their Facebook friends.

In a ruling, the B.C. Labour Relations Board stated that management had proper cause to fire the employees for making “disrespectful, damaging and derogatory comments on Facebook.” Quoth The Province:

The social network comments included “angry” Facebook status updates by J.T., including references to stabbing “somebody” in the face “14 or 16 times” and admiration of the “top five kills” from TV vigilante killer Dexter — were not made during work hours, or on work computers.

But the effect of the private-time comments amounted to insubordination and led to a hostile work environment.

Also, the two employees — one who had 377 “friends” and the other about 100 — didn’t help themselves by the fact their managers had been included in their Facebook networks.

“The manager would get a buzz on his Blackberry each time a status change turned up on Facebook and he could just read the stuff, so that wasn’t the brightest thing,” Richards said.

The bottom line for the average worker is you can’t really expect any privacy on Facebook, [management's lawyer Don] Richards said.

In a blatantly obvious yet clearly understated offering of advice, Don told The Province, "My advice is be very careful about what you put on Facebook, because once it’s out there, you kind of lose control over it, and it can have consequences on your employment.”

Some people never learn, I guess.

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

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Knowlton Thomas

Knowlton Thomas

Knowlton is the managing editor of Techvibes and author of Tempest Bound. Based in Vancouver, Knowlton has been published in national publications and has also appeared on television and radio. Previously he was an editor for New Westminster weekly The Other Press and served on its board of directors. When not working, Knowlton enjoys hiking, tennis, and martial arts. more

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