By Megan Ferguson, Chattanooga, TN—A woman who posted quite a controversial photo on Facebook is causing quite a fuss. In the picture, she is raising her middle finger at a sign requesting for silence and respect beside the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery, where she was visiting on a company trip.
She and other Facebook users like her are causing a debate over whether social media should be regulated by employers.
I can’t blame the company for putting this woman on unpaid leave. I mean after almost 2,000 comments end up on the company page and a group called “Fire Lindsey Stone” is made and liked by over 18,000 people, they kind of have to think about their reputation as a company.
Is firing Stone over a Facebook photo too severe? Not these days.
I understand the “we are just having fun” factor and “Facebook is just a social media site,” but she was representing her company on this trip. Of course she would get in trouble if her company found out what she did. She isn’t the first employee to be punished for a photo. The sad thing is that theirs was in no way as extreme.
Those before the Stone fiasco, teachers who wrote something bad about their students and waitresses complaining about unfair tips, could have given her some advice. Once you get a job, keep the photos low-key and the complaints sparse.
I can’t completely blame the Facebook users though. Well, besides Stone, who clearly went above and beyond an innocent photo and basically asked to be put on unpaid leave.
There was one photo of a teacher holding up a glass of wine and smiling who lost her job. No cleavage was showing, and she wasn’t wearing a mini-skirt. Just a glass of wine while she was out, not at school or at a school event.
For these people, I feel Facebook plays an unfair part in their job terminations. Unfortunately, Facebook users need to be extremely careful of what they post. Even those who aren’t in the “I’m totally wasted, half naked at the club” photos need to be wary. Even the smallest complaint can end a job or ruin job prospects for you.
For those of you who are graduating soon, do your resumé a huge favor. Clean up your Facebook or just delete it all together. You never know when that one status is going to end your job that you’ve worked so hard for.