Saturday, August 7, 2010

Free speech takes a hit

I'm talking about workplace rules & regs.  We've known for years any workplace techno thing you use- be it computer, or cell phone are owned by the company & what you write on those tools is company property. In other words, don't write or send any e mail or text message on workplace equipment you would not want the Boss or CEO to read. Understandable, it's their stuff you you are most likely an "at will" employee, meaning you can be fired for any reason at any time. Word to the wise, take your workplace comments outside.

But it does not end there. More companies are adding rules that state you are not allowed to make comments about the workplace- on your own time. Social networks can be accessed and if you make derogatory remarks or even talk about "internal issues", say ridiculous rules they expect you to adhere to, you can be subject to disciplinary action, up to & including being fired.

I understand not divulging trade secrets... but they literally mean a virtual gag order on employees.
We are not talking about top level, State Secret type info or positions either.
I'm talking about a Pizza parlor. Real story...

Facebook post costs waitress her job

"A couple came in for lunch and stayed for three hours - forcing her to work an hour past her quitting time.

And they left her a tip she thought was pretty measly - $5.
Johnson did what most folks who need a good rant do nowadays. When she got home, she went on Facebook. "Thanks for eating at Brixx," she wrote, "you cheap piece of ---- camper."
And like a growing number of workers, she found out the hard way that what you say on social networks can be used against you, particularly if you're in a position of public trust or public service.
The managers at Brixx called her in a day or two later, she says. They showed her a copy of her Facebook comments and told her she was being fired for violating company policy against speaking disparagingly about customers. A Brixx official said she also violated a second policy against casting the restaurant in a negative light on social networks.
"We definitely care what people say about our customers," said Jeff Van Dyke, one of the partners who run the restaurant."

So be careful of what you say.....
We will likely be reading more posts that go something like this:

A friend told me about large unnamed corporation, in an undisclosed location that has cheaped out the employees yet again.
Making less than $10 dollars an hour, before taxes, after 5 years of service is reminiscent of Chinese sweat shops. Those sons of bitches are living the high life, and expect people to work their asses off for a poverty level wage. Whatever money "the small people" make gross, is never money they actually take home- "net".
Employees want to scream when they see pie charts with corporate strategies, and cost containment is the #1 item. That's corporate speak for "no raises for you".

The flogging will continue until morale improves.....


D.K. Raed said...

One might be tempted to say the art of writing in third person is highly underrated.

nonnie9999 said...

i read that story about the waitress a few months ago, and i think she's an idiot. why was it necessary to put the name of the restaurant in the post? did she really think the couple who was there was actually going to read it, feel bad, and run back and give her a bigger tip? she could have told the story without including the name of the restaurant or just bitched generally that she had a bad day at work. maybe firing her was a bit harsh, but it was her own fault.

Fran said...

DK ~ Some other people might just think that, but I can't personally comment.

Nonnie ~ True she did mention the company name, but under the header of Free Speech, writing on her own time & space, that should be allowed. It seems to me corporations are taking it a bit far to monitor off work time social networking pages.
Yes the employer has every right to expect professional behavior @ work.
But they don't freaking own you & your thoughts.
It's getting to be a widespread corporate thing these days.... companies telling you what you can & can't say & do while not at work.
It's a little too George Orwell 1984, totalitarian-esque for me. Only your employer is big brother doing mind control.

nonnie9999 said...

let's say you worked for a furniture company. you clock out, and you go to a nearby restaurant. as you sit there, you loudly proclaim that the place you work is shitty, and the furniture they sell there is crap. someone from the company happens to be there and hears you. do you think you should still be working there? do you think the employer at the furniture store will view you as someone who is enthusiastic about work? do you think he'll think that you are someone who will try your best to sell his merchandise?

how about if you're walking down the street? it's a saturday, and you're not working. you see your boss, walk over and tell him that his wife looks like a basset hound or that he should go screw himself. you have the freedom of speech and every right to say that and worse. however, he has every right to fire you. why would he expect you to have any respect for him during working hours?

the waitress has the right to free speech. however, that doesn't mean it's not going to cost her. freedom of speech does not mean freedom from consequences. the restaurant was not only protecting itself but its other employees. do you want to eat at a restaurant where you think the wait staff is talking smack about you behind your back? do you want an employee who's not bright enough to not mock customers in public under her own name?

it would be an entirely different story if you are in your own house or somewhere that you believe to be private, and the boss bugged your house or phone or sent a private detective to spy on you. that would be an invasion of privacy, and he has no right to hear or see anything that you are talking about or doing. if he fired you for saying something bad about him or the company, you'd be able to sue and probably win. however, the waitress used her own name and posted in a public place. i hope she thinks before she hits the enter button next time.