Well, I sorta botched yesterday’s post about Facebook and that employee’s $1.5M jury verdict

And, by sorta, I mean definitely.


Sorry about that…

Yesterday, I brought you “How a fired employee’s Facebook posts about Obama and “a thug” led to a $1.5M jury award.” It had some good employer takeaways and a .gif with Mr. Krabs taking a money shower. In other words, it checked all the boxes.

Except, then I received an email from a blog reader with the subject line: Correction to Today’s Blog Post.

Now, since I’ve never been wrong before. Ever. I grab my best set of clutching pearls and review my post before opening the email. And there it was! I wrote about Ferguson and race relations “landing on the front page of most leading news publications across the county.”

Stupid me! I meant “country.”

Then I opened the reader email and, well, it seems that the problems with yesterday’s post run much deeper.

Just how badly did Eric mess up?

Real badly.

This wasn’t just any reader. It was counsel for the City of Charlotte. And, apparently, the underlying facts and circumstances from the primary source upon which I relied for my post may not reflect what actually happened in court. Indeed, the City’s lawyer told me that The Charlotte Observer (and pretty much every other Charlotte news outlet) got it wrong.

Because the case is still pending, the City’s lawyer couldn’t offer any insider info. Still, the City’s lawyer did highlight for me some information from the public court record. For example, while the plaintiff’s Facebook posts had certain First Amendment hallmarks, the court also ruled that the City was justified in terminating her. As a result, at the close of the evidence, the Court dismissed her First Amendment Retaliation claim based on her Facebook posts.

(Unfortunately, the Court would not let the parties argue to the jury that the Facebook claim had been dismissed and the jury found that the plaintiff’s building complaints were a substantial factor in her termination. Still, the City posits that one could have concluded that the plaintiff’s building complaints caused or could have caused disharmony or disruption in the workplace).

Then, there’s that reported $1.5M jury verdict. Well, it’s really only about half. The judge even mentioned in open court that he has to clear that up. Still, while $750,000 isn’t as sexy as $1,500,000, it’s nothing to sneeze at. Then again, the judgment has not yet been entered because the judge still has to decide two legal issues that he chose to defer until after the jury’s verdict. Those two issues may change the outcome of the case.

Ultimately, that reported $1.5M may end up being a lot less. Heck, the jury’s verdict may be wiped out altogether, in which case I’ll probably end up flushing yesterday’s post down the toilet and napalming my computer.

My bad!

I extend a big, super-duper apology to the City of Charlotte and its legal team. If I could turn back time…


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