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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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