Oversharing His Holiday on Facebook May Not Have Been the Best Idea
Many of us love to share the details of our lives on Facebook with our friends. For some people, it’s as if something didn’t even really happen if it’s not in a Facebook update. A great meal, a child’s silliness, and our vacation pix are all likely to be presented for our friends’ online amusement. But it’s that last one that cost Rodney Jones his job, according to Eric Goldman writing for Forbes. It’s a cautionary tale for social-media devotees.
Jones used to work as the activities director for Accentia Health and Rehabilitation Center of Tampa Bay, Florida. When he needed surgery on his shoulder, Accentia granted him three months of FMLA medical leave. Before his return, his doctor felt Jones needed more recovery time, and Jones offered to return to Accentia for “light duty.” Accentia decided instead to grant Jones an additional 30 days of non-medical leave, after which he’d return to work with a “Fitness for Duty Certificate” from his doctor in hand.
So Jones went to Busch Gardens Theme Park in Tampa twice and took a three-day trip to St. Martins. Naturally, he posted pictures of his good times on Facebook, including a “picture on the beach, posing by a boat wreck, and a picture of … wading/swimming in the ocean.”
When he reported for work, Accentia fired him. His supervisor stated the reason for termination as being that Jones had shown poor judgement as a supervisor and due to “the negative impact that his Facebook posts and text messages had among the associates as Accentia Health.” It’s not unreasonable to imagine the company felt he’d tricked them into giving him more leave than he really needed.
Jones thinks the company believes he abused his FMLA leave, and he took Accentia to court — he claimed they’d interfered with his FMLA leave. The judge was not impressed with his arguments and dismissed the case.
Companies have terminated employees for social-media activities plenty of times before, especially when the employee says one thing to a company — or a judge — while Facebook updates reveal the opposite to be true. If Jones has just enjoyed himself without having to show everyone, he’d have had a job to return to from vacation…sorry…leave.