A Swiss was fired when she was discovered to be using facebook at a time when she had claimed to be too ill to use a computer. She claims she was just checking her facebook account on her iPhone, and that the company had created a pseudonym on facebook, and that this pseudonym was monitoring her.

Details here.

Comments

  1. #1 NewEnglandBob
    April 26, 2009

    If a person chooses to display oneself on a public network, then one voluntarily gives up one’s own privacy there.

    That does not make what the company did ethical, but the woman has no right to complain.

    This is the reason I do not go on Facebook or Myspace or Twitter.

  2. #2 larkspur
    April 26, 2009

    I disagree, NEBob. Checking your facebook account on your iPhone is a whole different thing from being in your cubicle working at your keyboard. The former might be marginally comfortable when you’ve got a migraine, but the latter may not be. At the very least, the employee ought to have had a review or hearing of some type, and the employer ought to disclose to its employees that such monitoring procedures are being used.

    Too bad she doesn’t work on Wall Street. She’d at least have her zillion dollar bonus/golden parachute to soften the blow.

  3. #3 Matthew Platte
    April 26, 2009

    CRT monitors are nigh-impossible for me when my eyes are backed-up by severe headache. The LCD display of a laptop is less difficult but still unsustainable. I haven’t tried an iPhone under similar circumstances, but the much smaller size of the display would likely be a positive factor, allowing me to perform some tasks.

  4. #4 NewEnglandBob
    April 26, 2009

    You can disagree all you want, larkspur, but most employment is at-will and the employer can terminate for whatever reason or no reason.

  5. #5 Chocobob
    April 26, 2009

    “… most employment is at-will and the employer can terminate for whatever reason or no reason. ”

    Where? Where is this the law? In the US? In certain states in the US? Labour laws are different all over the world. Please remember that country is only one among many.

  6. #6 The Last Liberal Atheist
    April 26, 2009

    Uh-oh, everyone back up – NEBob is in the thread, and his ego is at full size.

  7. #7 NewEnglandBob
    April 26, 2009

    What is YOUR problem, “The Last Liberal Artist”? Do you have something to say? Can you be direct instead of a passive aggressive tool? What does ego have to do with this thread? Are you on drugs?

    Chocobob, Under swiss law:

    “Immediate dismissal without notice is an extraordinary measure and may therefore be resorted to only under very serious circumstances, namely if the offending act actually destroys the trust between the two parties.”

  8. #8 zayzayem
    April 26, 2009

    I think the company using a fake facebook account breaches the trust first.

    But, I agree, you can’t complain about the company accessing publicly available information on your activities (but was it publicly available?)

    There was a case in Sydney about a guy who got fired via facebook activities. He’d called in a sick day, but his facebook status said something along the lines of “F*** work today, I’m going to the pub”. Too bad his line manager was one of his friends.

  9. #9 Spiv
    April 27, 2009

    Usually when I have a migraine the primary issue is that it is very unwise to embark on a 45min-hour drive while experiencing bouts of vertigo. Even so, being at work in a chair staring at monitors (LCD or CRT, doesn’t matter) for sustained hours is a terrible thing. As would reading a book, or any other single sustained activity other than sleeping.

    But intermittent activity is another thing altogether. If they would let me work from home I could probably still manage to plug a few hours of work in over the course of a day.

    I do, however, suspect they were just waiting for a vaguely mediocre excuse to fire this person. People who are valuable tend to get a lot more leeway than that.

    For the guy who got fired for his facebook status: That sucks. I would never fault an employee for taking a “mental health” day like that. Every so often everyone needs such a thing. If you’ve got sick time or vacation time built up (as many of us have put in more than our fair share), however you need to use it to keep your own morale up.

  10. #10 qbsmd
    April 27, 2009

    “She said the company had created a fictitious Facebook persona which become “friends” with her, allowing the company to monitor her online activity.”
    This requires her to have accepted a friend request from a non-existent person, then done some detective work to find out who was responsible for that non-existent person. The company’s claim that “a colleague had inadvertently noticed her using Facebook” seems more likely, especially if “a colleague” was responsible for the work she wasn’t doing, or up for a promotion, etc.

  11. #11 Sven
    April 27, 2009

    “Immediate dismissal without notice is an extraordinary measure and may therefore be resorted to only under very serious circumstances, namely if the offending act actually destroys the trust between the two parties.”

    Thanks for destroying your previous claim that “most employment is at-will and the employer can terminate for whatever reason or no reason”. At-will employment is very rare here in Europe (we actually have laws that protect employees, figure that), generally speaking the only people you can “fire” without notice are temps.

  12. #12 DuWayne
    April 27, 2009

    Spiv -

    For the guy who got fired for his facebook status: That sucks. I would never fault an employee for taking a “mental health” day like that. Every so often everyone needs such a thing. If you’ve got sick time or vacation time built up (as many of us have put in more than our fair share), however you need to use it to keep your own morale up.

    I don’t have a problem with an employee taking a mental health day – I’ve taken my share over the years, both when employed by others and in business for myself. My problem is with the notion of one, the employee lying about it and two, being so fucking stupid as to post it on facebook, where he knows it will be visible to people he works with.