History of Terminations & Firings Because of Employee Social Media


fired

It is a digital and social media world we are living in with the use of social media, blogging, video tablets and smartphones only growing in popularity. This new level of personal and professional transparency combined with the availability of mobile technology heightens the likelihood that your workplace will be impacted with social media in some way. It’s likely that your recruiting team is using social media as a candidate recruiting and sourcing tool. Quite possibly, your organization is using internal social media and collaborative communication tools to increase productivity and connectivity. Due to the increase of employee firings, layoff announcements and terminations that are happenings through social media channels, I thought it best to create a timeline of known events and case studies that are brought to our attention through the power of social media, online media and traditional news sources.

Fired Because of Social Media

This list you see before you is not meant to be all encompassing. It is ever growing and changing as new instances are brought to our attention through the power of you by leaving a comment below. This list was created to show how important social media and technology is in our lives as well as work and to help executives and business leaders make a decision to embrace the tools not ban them from organizations. Because of the prevalence of technology, companies have two decisions they can make: 1) Embrace the technology or 2) Avoid the technology. The problem is that even without a company’s involvement social media and technology is being used to share and tell their story. Companies have to embrace the technology and find ways to educate and train their employees how to use it while also preparing for the inevitable social media misstep that will take their company viral.

2014

May

2013

January

  • Social Media Manager, Poppy Rose live tweets department layoff from the HMV corporate Twitter account. Story goes viral as managers are scrambling to reset corporate Twitter account password

February

March 

  • Adria Richards is fired from SendGrid after she tweeted about conference attendees discussing topics she found to be inappropriate and of a sexual nature. SendGrid announces her termination via Twitter and Facebook

June

  • Taco Bell fires employee for licking tacos and posting photo of it on Facebook

July 

September

October

November

December

2012

August

  • Adam Smith’s life has been turned upside-down in the 36 hours that followed his posting the video of his protest at Chick-fil-A, which involved letting a young female employee at the drive-thru know what he thinks about the company

July

November

December

2011

January

  • ACLU sends letter on behalf of employee, Robert Collins inquiring about Maryland Division of Corrections practice of requesting Facebook passwords as part of the employment process.  

Febuary

  • Teacher, Ashley Payne, fired over Facebook picture with glass of wine and mug of beer

March

April

May

June

2010

Febuary

April

May

June

August 

September

  • Seven doctors and nurses were fired for posting photos of them laying down on the job or planking on Facebook 

December

2009

March

April

  • Swiss employee fired after calling in sick but was found to be spending time on Facebook. Company was said to have created ficticious persona that friended her on the social networking site 

June

October

September

December

2008

Novemeber

2007

January

Febuary 

2002

February

 

Did we leave some out?

This is a running crowdsourced this of terminations and firings related to social media activities by employees. Leave a comment below with a description and link if available, and we’ll work to add it to the running list. Checkout a related timeline of History of Mergers & Acquisitions for HR Technology by clicking here.

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Comments

  1. This compilation is a valuable resource for those who may think they are invincible and can say whatever they wish. The one common thread through these firings is that they were not fired “‘because” of social media but because they were stupid.

    Social media just leaves us so exposed that we need to be cautious about being stupid where people can hear and see us. We are constantly in the public eye without walls or boundaries. The value of using personal branding to create a positive image could be debated, but there is no question that a negative image is always a killer.

    Reply
    Tom Bolt
    • Thanks, Tom and I agree with you. Employers need to educate employees on the risks of oversharing. They are adults and can make their own choices. Employees need to know that companies are taking action and are listening to the information you share on social networks.

      JMM

      Reply
  2. I think that the companies are out of line.

    People should be able to enjoy their lives as they please and makes them happy. It shouldn’t matter to any company at all if a person enjoys a dance style that a corporate CEO doesn’t approve of. What should it matter if a CEO doesn’t like the way, style, movements or whatever it may be when a woman is dancing?

    What happens in the workplace and what happens at home are 2 very different things. Its nobody’s corporate business what a person does in their private life, on their own time. As long as you show up to work on time, do what you’re supposed to do in a professional, productive way. Who cares if a woman is a stripper by night or a part of a nude colony or a religious activist. Who cares? It shouldn’t matter.

    Ok, I understand if during a lunch break a woman throws on a mini skirt and starts dancing like a stripper inside the office and tweets it.. then yes.. of course.. fire her.. by all means.

    ..but other than situations where there is inappropriate behavior IN the workplace..

    People should be able to be who they want to be and do what makes them happy to their hearts content without having to lose employment because somebody with a little bit of power doesn’t like that persons way of life.

    Reply
  3. it wasn’t his home that was dirty of course, it seems autocorrect’s a bit PC and not comfortable with the word ‘homo’ ;0)

    Reply
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    This statement was made a year ago but re-posted by her last month. I feel obligated to fire her for the protection of 15-20 other staff members. She has only worked for my company for 5 months. What do you think or know about this situation? Thank you, Valerie

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