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Question Description

I’m working on a management discussion question and need a reference to help me understand better.

Read the case (in the files)

Make an initial post in which you consider the following:

Is it appropriate that Angie was fired for her Facebook post? Why or why not? Explain the legal and ethical issues that led to your thinking.

Provide an example that you are aware of where employees are monitored in some way. How is that monitoring implemented and handled?

Welcome to the World of 21st-Century HRM
Author: Robert N. Lussier & John R. Hendon
Online Pub Date: March 06, 2016 | Original Pub. Date: 2012
Subject: Business Ethics, Employment & Labor Law
Level: Intermediate | Type: Indirect case | Length: 1100 words
Copyright: © SAGE Publications, Inc. 2013
Organization: | Organization size: Large
Region: Not applicable/global business | State:
Industry: Professional| scientific and technical activities
Originally Published in:
Lussier, R. N., & Hendon, J. R. (2012). Welcome to the World of 21st-Century HRM. In
Human resource management: Functions, applications, skill development (pp. 33–34). Los
Angeles: SAGE Publications, Inc. ISBN: 9781412992428.
Publisher: SAGE Publications, Inc.
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.4135/9781506325965 | Online ISBN: 9781506325965
© SAGE Publications, Inc. 2013
SAGE Business Cases
© SAGE Publications, Inc. 2013
This case was prepared for inclusion in SAGE Business Cases primarily as a basis for
classroom discussion or self-study, and is not meant to illustrate either effective or ineffective
management styles. Nothing herein shall be deemed to be an endorsement of any kind. This
case is for scholarly, educational, or personal use only within your university, and cannot be
forwarded outside the university or used for other commercial purposes. 2018 SAGE
Publications Ltd. All Rights Reserved.
This content may only be distributed for use within Johnson .
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SAGE Business Cases
This case focuses on Angie, an employee who was fired from a company because of
the inappropriate content she shared on her Facebook page. It is increasingly
common for companies to use social networks to screen potential employees.
However, readers must determine whether companies are right to monitor the social
media accounts of current employees and whether they can be used as justification
for letting employees go.
Angie was standing at her (former) desk picking up her personal items and wondering how
she had gotten into this mess. At one shoulder was the head of HR and at the other was one
of the security officers. They were there to escort her out of the building as soon as she
retrieved her personal items. Thinking back, the last hour or so had been a whirlwind. She
had come to work like she had for the past several months, maybe a little late and a little
hungover, but she was there.
Shortly after she had sat down at her desk to start making phone calls, her supervisor had
called her into his office. He asked her to accompany him to the HR Manager’s office. Once
there, she saw a printout of her Facebook page and the blog that she kept on pretty much a
daily basis. She was a little embarrassed by the photos on the printouts from her Facebook
page, but at least they weren’t as racy as some she had considered putting up. She was
really glad that when she graduated from college she had purged her account of all of those
pictures of the Florida vacations on the beach (and other places).
Angie knew, like all of the other employees, that company management had recently been
going through some of the social networking sites to review potential recruits before they
decided to hire them, but she didn’t know anything about management reviewing current
employees’ personal webpages. Well, she thought, my pages are pretty clean since I was
warned about this by career services in college.
However, what she saw next really bothered her. There was the highlighted section of her
blog from last Thursday. She had forgotten about that! In the post, she had noted that she
had a whopping hangover because of the girls’ night out on Wednesday, and “I think I’ll call in
sick because I just can’t face working for that idiot with this headache.” Well, they knew that
she wasn’t sick. How could she have been that stupid?
As she sat there, she suddenly realized that this was no normal conversation—it looked more
like an inquisition. And when the HR Manager informed her that the company was going to
terminate her employment, she couldn’t believe it. What had happened to freedom of
speech? What had happened to a person’s right to have a life outside of work? Could they
monitor her personal communications that had nothing to do with work and then use them
against her? She wasn’t sure, but she thought that was wrong. Nonetheless, here she was
cleaning out her desk.
According to a recent study by the company Harris Interactive for CareerBuilder.com, almost
half of employers are using social networks to screen job candidates. Over a third of
employers had decided not to offer jobs to potential candidates based on content from their
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SAGE Business Cases
social networking sites including Facebook, LinkedIn, Myspace, Twitter, and others.
CareerBuilder notes in another article how a person can get fired because of social media.
They give the following five reasons as among the most prevalent: posting a scandalous
photo; viewing or updating your profile on company time; posting information that conflicts
with your employer’s values; revealing why you’re a lousy employee; and venting about your
employer, boss, or job (www.careerbuilder.com).
Social media sites are no longer just a location where you can connect with your friends.
Companies are routinely using these sites to research both recruits for employment and the
actions of current employees. The Internet is full of references to people fired for things that
they said on their personal webpages. And it doesn’t necessarily matter if you set your pages
to private. Your friends may still capture comments that you’ve made on their pages without
you even knowing about it. In addition, recruiters may use your “friend” list to find people to
call for references, and if your friend is unaware of the purpose for the call, they might say
something that you’d rather they didn’t. Employers can look at who has recommended you on
sites such as LinkedIn and may approach those references as well (Wortham, 2014).
Social media is here to stay and companies are using it, but is Angie right? Can the company
use her personal pages on social media sites against her as an employee? Should the
employer be able to discipline an employee because of a personal social media page? Even if
they can, is it ethical? Can an employee have any expectation that their personal rants,
whether against their employer or the local store or their former boyfriend or girlfriend, are
private? Isn’t free speech protected by the Constitution? Organizations (and many employees
and former employees) are now struggling with these questions.
Discussion Questions
1. Does Angie have a right to say what she wants on her Facebook page or in her blog?
Why or why not?
2. What if she harmed the company or its reputation in some way with what she posted?
Would that change your answer?
3. What if she gave out confidential information about new products or services?
4. Is it legal for the company to terminate an employee because of something they did
away from work?
5. If it is legal for the company to terminate an employee for something they did on their
own time, in what circumstances would this be legal? For example:
Would it be legal for the company to terminate an employee because the employee
campaigned for a politician who was writing legislation that would harm the
interests of the company?
Would it be legal for the company to terminate someone who wrote in their blog
that they had physically assaulted another person because they were angry?
Would it be legal to terminate someone who wrote that they carried a gun to work,
even though they really didn’t?
6. Does Angie have any legal recourse because of the company firing her over her social
media posts?
www.careerbuilder.com. A d v i d e & R e s o u r c e s p a g e . R e t r i e v e d f r o m :
www.careerbuilder.com/Article/CB-916-Getting-Ahead- Will-Your-Social-Networking-ProfileGet-You-Hired-or-Fired/?ArticleID=916&cbRecursionCnt=1&cbsid=0fa
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19ddd2a354b07ae679ad83583f35a-332624691-x76&ns_siteid=ns_us_g_fired_or_not_hired_be_ (retrieved July 16, 2010).
Wortham, J. (2014, December 13). More Employers Use Social Networks to Check Out
Applicants. Retrieved from: http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/08/20/more-employers-usesocial-networks-to-check-out-applicants/ (retrieved July 16, 2010).
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