A Kelowna woman is warning others to be careful what you write on Facebook after one post got her fired.
Anne had been at her company for three years when she wrote the fateful post. She felt the company had changed its standards and wasn't providing the same level of service it once did.
“There were some changes at work, and I felt people weren't getting what they paid for, but that was just my opinion,” says Anne. “I wrote that on Facebook, and someone obviously threw me under the bus, and I got fired on the spot.”
The post was damning to the company, but she thought she was just sharing her frustration with a select few.
“This place is turning to sh*t! Backward changes!,” read part of the post.
She now says it was foolish to think she was just venting to her family and friends. The information got back to the company's owner, and she was let go the next day.
“I never should have written that on Facebook, but I said 'who doesn't vent on Facebook?' I've never been fired from a job before, so this is double shocking right now. I gave them three good years of service and lost my job in an instant because I made a mistake.”
The company did provide severance, so was within its legal rights to fire Anne, but she's hoping her story will be a lesson to others.
Allan Coyle, director of public affairs for Okanagan College, says social media users should think twice before posting.
“People need to realize that what they post, even if they think it is private, may not be,” says Coyle. “There are any number of ways that posts you think you are only communicating to a select group of friends can get out to a broader group in a heartbeat. Things can't be taken back.”
Coyle says all it takes is one person to hold on to something you've posted, even if you have deleted it or taken it down.
“It still lingers in cyberspace,” says Coyle. “You need to realize that while fair comment and free speech are important concepts, there are also questions of what is appropriate.”
Coyle says the college has a simple message it shares with staff and students.
“If it's not something you would say in front of a television camera or in front of a reporter or on an online news outlet, then you probably shouldn't be including it in your social media posts,” says Coyle – who adds there is an additional concern of defamation if you tarnish the name of an individual online.
“There are implications if you say something you ought not to.”
Meanwhile, Anne, is searching for a new job to support her and her daughter.
“If I thought it was going to jeopardize my job, I sure as hell never would have written it," she says. "I enjoyed my job there.”