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Walmart Fires Over Facebook

Roger Barr is an atheist who up until recently worked at Walmart as a greeter. Despite his positive job performance, he was fired because he posted controversial opinions on his facebook page.

While it wasn’t Roger’s atheist in particular that got him fired, I am sure it was a contributing factor. Roger is known for encouraging debate and discussion on his facebook page on a range of topics and it was on the topic in which he questioned whether living longer is indeed living better that was the direct cause of his firing.

Apparently Walmart has a social media clause which can only be read by employees on their lunch break in the store. In other words, Walmart makes it difficult for employees to be informed about this policy and yet they expect their employees to follow it.

In an age where social media has become part of most people’s lives, what rights do employees have to privacy and what rights to employers have in policing the lives of their employees?

In Florida recently, a teacher was fired for making an anti-gay remark on facebook. Now, my first reaction was that there is no room in the public school for anti-gay teachers but then I had to think about it in an unbiased manner. The only real difference between what happened to Roger at Walmart and what happened to this teacher in Florida is the content of their opinions.

So, should employers care about their employee’s online presence? It may not be as clear cut question after all.

You can read a more detailed summery of Roger’s situation HERE.

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  • Chuck

    I don’t like this at all, neither the Walmart incident nor the teacher. Everyone deserves the right to speak their mind disconnected from their place of work.

  • http://blackroseheart.wordpress.com/ Shelli

    Thank you Staks, for posting this!

    One slight correction, though. You said, “Apparently Walmart has a social media clause which can only be read by employees on their lunch break in the store.”

    Employees can only read the policy while they are actually clocked in, so it can NOT be read during a lunch break, in which they are not on the clock.

  • Roger

    I am the former employee in question. I believe that my freedom of speech has been violated by this incident. If a company can control what an employee thinks and says off the clock then he should be paid 24/7.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_AVE4YJWIOMMIAQSGHFWXT57LL4 Michael Hansen

    I think employers are risking law suits when they fire people for using their constitutional right of free speech. Especially when the employees are doing this on their own time while not being paid.
    These employers need to be held liable and challenged in federal court.

    Also, citizens groups for free speech should push boycotts of businesses who are quilty of this behavior.