Attorney Myers: Can I legally be fired due to Facebook comments? I work for a fairly large corporation and have been given a warning over posts I made that never directly used the company’s name. For example, I said I wished that I had never left my previous job. I joked that “Oh boy I made $10.00 today,” and that I was looking for a new job to make some real money. In a totally different conversation I was asked the name of the company I worked for and I gave the name. Can I be terminated for this? I’m not saying anything negative about the company itself, just mainly about me making no money. What about my freedom of speech?
Answer: Anyone reading the whole context of this sees that you aren’t happy with your employer and it isn’t rocket science to see who that is.
The First Amendment requires state action of some sort in order to invoke the protection. In other words, where the Amendment says “Congress shall make no law” abridging freedom of speech, this is interpreted to mean that no governmental unit may infringe upon free speech. However, in your case, it is a private company proposing to take action, so First Amendment protections aren’t there for you.
Without an employment contract or a union, we are all employees at will. That means an employer can terminate for any reason or no reason, as long as they are not engaging in discrimination against a protected class or violating public policy.
I just read a Facebook posting about someone’s crazy dog. I would stick to innocuous postings like that.
This post © 2011 Eagle Tribune Corp. Originally published in Derry News, “About The Law”.