In January, a waitress lost her job after posting a “God” receipt on Reddit.com and a teacher lost her job after posting a picture of her duct-taped students on Facebook. It is scary how easily one can lose a job by posting a picture on a social media site even though the pictures were meant to entertain friends, not harm anyone.
“Employees must honor the privacy rights of APPLEBEE’s and its employees by seeking permission before writing about or displaying internal APPLEBEE’S happenings that might be considered to be a breach of privacy and confidentiality. This shall include, but not be limited to, posting of photographs, video, or audio of APPLEBEE’S employees or its customers, suppliers, agents or competitors, without first obtaining written approval from the Vice President of Operations. The policy goes on to specify: Employees who violate this policy will be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment.”
Pastor Alois Bell, who had replaced the automatically added gratuity on Applebee’s bill for her party of over eight with a “0” and written "I give God 10%, Why do you get 18?,” did feel that her “privacy and confidentiality” had been violated.
“My heart is really broken, … I’ve brought embarrassment to my church and ministry. … [It was] a lapse in my character and judgment.” It was not pastor Bell herself but one of her friends who told her that the “God” receipt was “all over Yahoo” and that her “God” receipt had gone viral.
Chelsea Welch wasn’t even pastor Bell’s server. She just saw her coworker’s “God” receipt, took a picture of it, and uploaded it to Reddit.com. She was fired on Thursday.
"I thought the note was insulting, but also comical. … And I thought other users would find it entertaining.”
Melissa Cairns, the eighth-grade math teacher who took a picture of her students after they had duct taped their mouths also thought that the picture that she posted on Facebook was entertaining.
More job frightening than Chelsea Welch’s case is that Melissa Cairns does not appear to have had an employee contract that spelled out that she couldn’t post a picture of her students on Facebook. Since Jan. 15, 2013, Melissa Cairns is not teaching anymore because she allegedly violated students’ privacy by posting their picture on Facebook.
Not reading one's employee contract and not taking someone else's privacy rights into consideration before uploading a picture on a social media site like Reddit.com or Facebook might easily lead to a job loss.
Is a restaurant receipt or a picture taken in school truly a "privacy" issue? Aren't restaurants and schools considered public places?
Chelsea Welch’s experience with the “God” receipt picture on Reddit.com and Melissa Cairns' experience with the duct-taped students picture on Facebook are an important reminder and a warning for other social media users; as easily as one can be connected with friends as easily one can be disconnected with a job.
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