Teacher Loses Job After Commenting About Students, Parents on Facebook

Employers Want to Control Their Online Image

In January, Gloria Gadsden wrote: "Does anyone know where I can find a very discrete hitman? Yes, it's been that kind of day?" Then in February: "had a good day today. DIDN'T want to kill even one student. :-). Now Friday was a different story."

Gadsden said she posted the comments in jest, on a profile she thought could only be seen by friends and family. She says officials were notified of the posts by a student -- even though she says she had no students in her "friend" list.

She said she just venting after a bad day, but university officals were unhappy about the allusions to violence and even referenced a recent shooting spree at the Univerisyt Alabama-Huntsville.

Experts say that online venting sessions can harm a worker's career because employers not only want to control their online image but area also vulnerable to hurt pride.

"When you badmouth your boss and the boss is hearing, whether you're doing it online or at the coffee maker, the boss isn't going to be happy," says Jonathan Ezor, assistant professor of Law and Technology at Touro Law Center in Central Islip, N.Y. "The fact that it's online makes it more easily findable and have a broader potential impact."

Obscenities Draw Attention

The comments that provoke employers into action usually contain obscenities or exaggerations that could hurt relations with customers.

Last year, for example, Dan Leone, a stadium worker for the Philadelphia Eagles, was fired after he reacted with an online obscenity to news that one of the Eagles' star players was leaving to join the Denver Broncos.

"Dan is [deleted] devastated about Dawkins signing with Denver. Dam Eagles R Retarted," was the comment that cost Leone his job.

Although he later apologized and tried to get his job back, his employer wouldn't budge.

''If you know your boss is online, or anyone close to your boss is online, don't be making comments that can be detrimental to your employment,'' Leone told The New York Times after the incident.

Virgin Workers Fired

In the U.K., Virgin Atlantic Airlines fired 13 cabin crew members after they made fun of passengers in their postings and quipped about defective engines.

The discount airline, owned by Sir Richard Branson, told The Guardian at the time that the postings were "totally inappropriate" and "brought the company into disrepute."

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.

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