The good news for this employee is that her viral Facebook post earned her an award.
The bad news is that the “award” was “Racist of the Week.”
The ugly news — well, other than the post itself — was that the employee lost her job and likely impaired her ability to find similar employment anytime soon.
In these situations, two “P’s” carry a lot of weight: Perception and Publicity.
Here, the employee’s post neither contains epithets nor any explicit racism. However, she does enough to be perceived as racist (e.g., allusions to slavery), ignorant (derogatorily referring to President Obama as “socialist Muslim”) and uneducated (many factual mistakes, including multiple references to “O’Bama”). Therefore, one could reasonably question whether she would treat all of her bank customers equally and fairly.
Additionally, the employee’s post was shared thousands of times and, ultimately, landed on her employer’s doorstep. When that happens, the script basically writes itself. Employer apologizes; employee is fired.
Therefore, it should come as no surprise that, when I present on social media at work today at the Pennsylvania Chamber of Commerce’s 2016 Annual Human Resources Conference, I plan to focus a lot of my time on the 24/7 world of social media.
Indeed, this blog post is further proof that what an employee posts (or gets recorded doing) — even if it’s “off the clock” — can have a profound impact on the employee’s immediate employment prospects.