Fired for Social Media comments. “What Do You Think”?

It’s time for a social media edition of what do you think! Nancy works for a local caterer in their marketing department and she is a regular poster on Facebook both for her personal interest and as marketing director for her company. Nancy feels very strongly about a post that another local merchant made on facebook and she fires off her opinions through her own personal account but Nancy’s boss who is one of her facebook friends sees her post complaining about another local merchant and he fires her so what do you think? Where is the line where your personal opinions become your boss’s concern? if you are free to express your private opinions do you need to be prepared for the consequences of those opinions? let me hear from you.  What do you think?

Ready for the answer? Here it is! Its a difficult line to straddle where a proprietor has the right to protect his or her brand and the right or power to require compliance by employees while engaged in connection with the business. The difficulty further arises when, in a state like Virginia where one can be terminated for no reason, absent a contract, an employer may terminate for non-work connected speech or actions. Since the first amendment doesn’t apply privately, one may fairly consider that restricting your opinions maybe a subtle condition of your employment. Distasteful, but currently legal.