Professor Suspended After Joke About Killing Students on Facebook

Social media mavens can even get in trouble before they've been hired. Remember the case of the Cisco fatty that went viral last year?

Cisco Fatty's Lost Opportunity

One Twitter user posted an update last year saying "Cisco just offered me a job! Now I have to weigh the utility of a fatty paycheck against the daily commute to San Jose and hating the work."

A Cisco employee responded, "Who is the hiring manager? I'm sure they would love to know that you will hate the work. We here at Cisco are versed in the Web."

Needless to say, the applicant did not end up working at Cisco.

Several Web sites, such as JobVent.com, have sprung up in recent years to make it easier for employees to vent their job frustrations online. There's even a website called IhateDell.net that allows employees (and customers) to air their complaints about the computer maker.

In some cases, online postings by disgruntled employees can seriously damage a company's bottom line. Just ask Domino's Pizza.

Gross Misconduct

Domino's sales dropped last year after an employee posed for five YouTube videos. In one, he stuffed cheese up his nose and put it into a sandwich. In another, he sneezed into a cheese steak sandwich.

Once the poser and the photographer -- also a Domino's employee -- were identified, they were fired and sued by Dominos.

In this case, the transgression seemed very clear. But employees often complain that their online posts are only used as excuses to fire them.

"It's not unusual for an employee to allege that the real reason for adverse employment action is discrimination and and that the employer's stated justification is a subterfuge," says Philip Gordon, a lawyer with Littler, Mendelson who defends employers in privacy disputes.

Gadsden, the professor from East Stroudsburg, says that university officials have been discriminating against her ever since she wrote an essay in The Chronicle of Higher Education saying universities don't do enough to retain minority faculty.

Ever since that essay ran, she says, some officials started making her life difficult.

"Their reaction (to the posts) was exaggerated," says Gadsden, noting that she was not giving a warning or a chance to correct her actions before she was suspended. "It was not for my essay they may have not responded in that way."

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