Two more learn the hard way that off-the-clock social media use can be a job killer

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By Dennis Hill from The OC, So. Cal. – misc 24, CC BY 2.0, Link

When will people learn?

(Although, if they do, I’ll have less about which to blog.)

Hosting a White Supremacist Internet Show Is a Bad Look For a Middle School Teacher

It’s a bad look for anyone.

But, in the case of a Florida educator, it cost her a job. Here’s more from Avery Anapol’s at TheHill.com (here):

A Florida middle school teacher has reportedly resigned after it was revealed that she hosted a white supremacist podcast.

Dayanna Volitich was removed from her classroom at Crystal River Middle School last month while district officials investigated after HuffPost reported she was behind the podcast “Unapologetic,” as well as a Twitter account full of racist and anti-Semitic posts.

Mike Mullen, the Citrus County School District assistant superintendent, said in a statement emailed to CNN on Monday that Volitich had submitted a letter of resignation.

Tamar Lapin at The New York Post writes here that the teacher claims that she was kidding:

But the teacher now says it was all a load of baloney.

“None of the statements released about my being a white nationalist or white supremacist have any truth to them, nor are my political beliefs injected into my teaching of social studies curriculum,” she said in the statement.

“The views ‘Tiana Dalichov’ espouses do not pervade my professional career,” she added.

Oh, word? More on this in a bit.

First, I’ve got news of a nurse who reportedly wrote on Facebook that an unarmed black man killed by cops ‘DESERVED IT for being stupid.’

Nurse who reportedly wrote on Facebook that an unarmed black man killed by cops ‘DESERVED IT for being stupid’ loses her job

Jessica Finn, reporting here at The Daily Mail, has the scoop:

A Sacramento hospital fired a nurse after she wrote on Facebook that Stephon Clark, the unarmed black man who was shot dead by police in Sacramento ‘deserved it’.

Faith Linthicum, who works in labor and delivery at Kaiser Permanente Roseville Medical Center, took to Facebook to post: ‘Yeah but he was running from the police jumping over fences and breaking in peoples houses…why run??!!! He deserved it for being stupid.’

Linthicum’s comments were widely circulated when she was placed on administrative leave before the hospital ultimately issued a statement stating she was ‘no longer with the organization’

The Daily Mail article includes a link to Ms. Linthicum’s post.

Did these women deserve to lose their jobs? What if the employers had offered second chances?

Well, let’s consider some hypotheticals:

  1. The nurse returns to work. While on her shift, an African-American patient in her care dies. The patient’s family claims that the nurse deliberately withheld life-saving aid because she discriminates against people of color. The hospital defends claiming that the nurse did nothing wrong. The case goes to trial. Exhibit “A” is the Facebook post.
  2. The teacher returns to work. Unable to maintain the boundaries between her professional and personal worlds, she makes a series of anti-semitic comments to Jewish co-workers. They complain to the school district and, eventually, the EEOC that the teacher created a hostile work environment. The co-workers claim that the school didn’t take reasonable steps to prevent the teacher’s bad behavior even though it was on notice. The school administrators collectively facepalm.

These are two realistic scenarios of what can happen if an employer ignores or otherwise condones an employee’s unprotected* off-the-clock speech on social media.

(*Neither situation involves protected concerted activity, there are no First Amendment protections here, and I’m assuming that off-duty-conduct laws won’t save either employee.)

And what happens if, as in the teacher’s case, the employee claims that online speech is satirical?

Maybe it was just a joke. But, since when does intent matter?

It doesn’t.

Instead, the litmus test involves an examination of whether the actor’s behavior offends the victim — even if that’s an unintended consequence.

Besides, as an employer, how much of your brand and goodwill are you willing to risk on an employee who jokes about anti-semitism and racism?

We know the answer to that question.

“Doing What’s Right – Not Just What’s Legal”