This blog post stimulates from a question posted on Facebook, the question was… Is it fair that an employer fire an employee due to something they did outside of work. It was NOT done during business hours or on the job property. Is that fair?
Disclosure: This is my personal opinion based on my career experiences and organizations that I’ve aligned myself with. Factual information in this post has been shared from the NC Justice Center, feel free to visit the website for more information. I absolutely believe that an employer has the right to fire you if you have done something that will reflect on the company or brand in a negative way. Even as a blogger, I think about how things will reflect my personal brand. Every State has their own set of laws but, in addition to my personal opinion I live in North Carolina which is an “at will” state so, an employer can fire you for any reason or just because and there’s nothing you can do about it… unless they have violated an employment statute or public policy.
There are a couple of exceptions like you have an employment contract that sets the terms of your employment, a few popular ones are a termination that violates federal and state employment statutes prohibiting discrimination or retaliation and a firing that violates a particular public policy. A termination that violates an employment statute may look like… Discrimination based on race, national origin, sex, pregnancy, religion, disability. citizenship, status or age. * There are approximately 30 federal and 10 state anti-discrimination statutes. Retaliation for taking a leave of absence for a serious medical condition. FMLA (Family & Medical Leave Act) allows eligible employees to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave per year without risking their jobs.
Take me for instance… I worked in the newspaper industry for over ten years. In my last position of six years I was the Marketing Coordinator and in most situations one of the “faces” of the newspaper. Whenever people saw me they associated me with the newspaper. I was recognized at events that we attended, sponsored, coordinated or even partnered with other organizations to host. I would never have wanted to do something that would negatively affect the newspaper to get me fired! I currently work for the Girl Scouts organization and I follow the same rules. I’m an active adult Girl Scout member and try my best to live by the Girl Scout mission, Promise and Girl Scout Law. I have instilled morals and values in me that I live by, Girl Scout or not! I’m not perfect and am 100% human but, I make conscious efforts daily to make good decisions online and offline.
There are so many people who have lost their jobs lately due to poor decision making and then to go a step further they post it on Social Media for the world to
judge… I mean see! My previous employer and co-workers follow me online and my current CEO follows me online, but that’s okay I’ve always carried myself in a positive manner. Take the recent 22 year old woman that just lost her job because she dressed up like one of the injured Boston Marathon Bombing Victims. Haven’t heard about it, click link to read article. In my opinion that was poor taste and then she posted the pic on Instagram and Twitter and it went viral erupting negative emotion resulting in her termination. I have no idea where she worked, she was in costume in an office setting when the picture was taken and posted. Now… do you think that was fair? Does that picture represent the company in a negative way?
Is it fair that employers can use pictures, tweets or Facebook posts that may offend others as a means of termination when brought to their attention? Think about politicians, celebrities and athletes! They live their lives publicly, so when they mess up it’s BAD!!! I want to know how you feel… Sound off!