I read with interest a recent article from Dear Abby (May 4, 2010). A man writes that on the first day of his wife’s work, she was called into the human resources director’s office and told she was being “let go” because of her Web site. The site had photos of her when she worked as a model at a department store. He stated that the pictures were not provacative and that photos of their children were also on the site. The HR director told the wife that one of the (internal) applicants had seen the site and made a complaint over one image, which led to the wife’s termination. They consulted an attorney, as well as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and were told that they lived in an “at will” state, which entitled the employer to fire the employee without fault.
The response was that if you live in at “at will” state, employers can fire you for any reason, unless there is a written contract, or for illegal reasons, such as age, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or disability. The employer was found not at fault in this situation. I hope this is a “wake-up call” for all of you who post pictures of yourself drinking or in other compromising situations, as well as the words you post. Employers are looking at these social networking sites to see the quality of employee; this is their way to ‘weed out’ the numerous applicants they have. This kind of tactic stinks, frankly, but that is the current state in the world of work.