The next time you feel the overwhelming desire to express your thoughts and opinions through what you “like” on Facebook, keep in mind that others may not feel the same way. In fact, should you irritate the wrong person, you may find yourself without gainful employment. Strange, but most certainly true.
Just ask some of the guys who used to work at the Hampton Sheriff’s Office in Virginia. Apparently their boss was running for reelection, and some of the employees weren’t too crazy about the idea. In order to express their dislike for the current Sheriff, they decided to “like” the page for his competitor. No harm, right? Wrong. Their boss won the election and promptly canned everyone who showed support for his opponent on Facebook. So much for being the bigger man.
The supposed reason for the mass firing: budget cuts. Of course, it was plainly obvious to everyone involved that this incident was nothing more than a thinly-veiled attempt at revenge, so the former employees filed a lawsuit against the sheriff’s department. After all, “liking” someone or something on social media sites should be protected under the First Amendment. Right?
As of right now, wrong.
The judge overseeing the case claims that Facebook “likes” aren’t considered free speech, and ruled against the sacked employees. Given that there’s currently a bill in the works that will prevent employers from digging around in your Facebook account, I doubt this ruling will stand for very long. One can only hope so, anyway.
Feel free to leave your own thoughts and feelings in the comments section. Also, have a look at what people on Twitter are saying about this ruling.