Fired On Facebook

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People are fired in all kinds of rude ways, but they typically don’t make the news. Get fired via Facebook, though, and the world goes “huh?”

Crystal Bell, fortunately, wasn’t humiliated via any public communication; her boss sent notice via private message. According to the Calgary Herald, Bell, who’d been employed at a spa only two weeks, skipped a staff meeting on a day she wasn’t scheduled to work.

This answers Smokey’s question: How the hell you get fired on your day off?

Other questions go unanswered, though, as those who are not self-employed may be taken aback by the impersonal method of termination. Bell’s boss defended the move saying she tried to call but Bell ignored her phone.

Still it raises the question of whether this is an isolated incident or the wave of the future: getting the digital ax via email, social network, instant message, yikes—Twitter? Will someone get fired in leet?

Blaise Alleyne at Tech Dirt plays out that scenario:

@unfortunatesoul btw you’re #fired sry

Unfortunatesoul’s likely response: @bgboss i can haz welfare chek? 

As someone with a communication background, let me say that this probably isn’t the best way to go about it. If management is unconcerned with the employee who is fired, management should consider the remaining staff and how they perceive the act. As they internalize and empathize, such indifference may contribute to I’m-just-a-cog-in-the-wheel bitter disloyalty in the future. 

Fired On Facebook
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  • http://www.mywindowtreatmentpro.com Joyce Porter

    Reading this post gives me a smile to my face is it possible to fire people without even conducting some investigation? Dont they have any company policy on this? I feel bad for her, hope this wont happen to any employees again.

  • http://twitter.com/car4dave Dave

    I have heard of people being fired for using facebook.. not with it.

  • Toby

    I’m glad I don’t do Facebook. This is nothing, in Australia they’ve started to use FB to serve court orders and track people down. When you think about it makes sense. Why do we need CIB, CIA, FBI, Police Databases, whatever if the masses just blindly upload personal info on themselves to a public website.

  • Guest

    can you accept my friendship.please tale me by email or comment.and you can open my site and click.here is www.homebiznis.blogspot.com it is a best site for jobs at home

  • http://www.freewebs.com/coffmancommunications Bruce W. Coffman

    Unfortunately, it’s only funny because it’s just the way the world is becoming. Cold. Impersonal. Anyone who doesn’t realize they are just another cog in the wheel just hasn’t worked been in the workforce long enough to realize it.

    • http://www.Salem-City-Guide.com Guest

      Clink~ Clink~

  • http://domaindjinn.com Christopher Car

    I was pretty amazed how easy it was to get in touch with so many people so quickly via Facebook. This includes people I wanted to catch up with and others that I don’t want to associate with.

    Now, HR people can sign you up as a friend and then find out basically everything about you through all your friendships. I don’t know how legal this is though. I think it falls under the rule that says they can’t do a background check without your authorization. However if you accept them as a friend, does that authorize you to investigate you via Facebook?

    I just think it is a bad idea to add higher ups in your company, HR, etc to your friend list. Probably a good idea to leave out anybody that works at your company.

    If you don’t add them as a friend then they can’t fire you via FB.

    However, lots of jobs are very impersonal. Think about the trend to outsource all your needs to India. The personal interaction between you and your staff is pretty much gone. In that senario, it is easy to send an email to fire them. But I can’t say that this is a trend in big business where there is face to face interaction with staff. Such indifference would probably cause a morale problem that would permeate the organization.

    The only way HR would probably be safe in using FB for HR would be to announce new opportunities to their friend list. In this respect, if you have a big enough list, it may be easier to find the right person than using a Monster.com or whatever.

  • pookie

    that is crazy…

  • http://www.mulewagon.com The Mule Wagon

    This is why I enjoy working for myself. Actually, any complaints do come by email, but at least I’ve chosen to communicate that way.

    Valerie McKnight

  • http://www.thelostagency.com David

    im wondering if it was against company policy to use facebook, and maybe they could get their boss fired aswell?

    further to the point is it mostly accepted that you should not have your direct boss/director as a friend on facebook? eg status message that might be seen such as “david is so over this crap and wants to get a new job” or “david is worried that he wont get his project finished on time…”

    i think getting fired on facebook is really a bad response and quite unprofessional for a company

  • Frank

    This is how the world is going. Like Dave saids in the post above any one who works for someone is just a cog or number. There is no gratitude for doing a good job any more.

    • http://www.roomfurniturechina.com wholesale bedroom furniture

      It’s good for the people of America as well as for the people around the world that Mr. Obama is now the President of most powerful nation of the world. We all are hopeful of something good which will make this world a better place to live.

  • http://www.diamondonnet.com/ Diamonds

    This sucks, be brave enough to face your employees when you fire them. Damn cowards.

  • http://blaise.ca/ Blaise Alleyne

    heh. nice.

    And I agree.

  • http://www.webbedit.co.uk Paul G

    If she’d only been there two weeks likelihood is she was on probation and therefore had far fewer rights than longer serving employees, but if she was not explicitly told to come in for the meeting then it does not seem a sackable offence.

    I would imagine a friendly tap on the shoulder “by the way you’re supposed to come in for staff meetings even if it is your day off” would be the proper way to go or at worst a verbal warning.

    My response to being told to come in on my day off would be “I assume I will get paid for my inconvenience?”

    This is a shocking and scary use of social networking, but I agree with others that if you’re going to embrace facebook then be careful what you put up there and who you accept as friends!!

  • Curt F.

    As much as we like to rag on bosses in general, and as much as we like to scare ourselves with how bad the world is becoming, we simply don’t know enough about this case to condemn either the boss or her methods.

    First, it was just a part-time, hourly job, and the young lady had been there only two weeks, so as Paul G. says, she would have been on probation and could be let go any time without cause.

    Second, we don’t know what her job performance had been up to that point. The staff meeting may have just been the official reason given, and the employee may have been well aware of that. Anyone who’s managed a restaurant or any retail business staffed mainly with young, part-time employees knows that the staff turns over quickly and that you can’t waste time coddling those who don’t work out.

    Third, the message was sent by private message, not posted on Facebook. If you fire an employee onsite, you basically have to escort them from the premises immediately, which can be humiliating. Isn’t it better for both sides if you can reach them and just tell them not to come in again?

    Finally, any employer knows that firings should always be communicated in, or at least document in writing for the company’s protection. E-mails are accepted as evidence in court cases because ISP records can confirm their delivery if need be, and they’re no less personal than a mailed letter, are they?

    It sounds to me like the employee was well aware that she was supposed to come in to the staff meeting. If that’s the case, both the firing and the method are perfectly justified.

    So, yeah, this may be the way the world’s going, but there’s no indication that this young lady’s rights or privacy were compromised. Personally, I’d rather be fired by e-mail so I can be alone to deal with the initial emotions and not risk saying something that would burn even more bridges!


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