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Thursday, July 26, 2012

Dear Bitchy Waiter

Every day, I get literally dozens and dozens of emails (okay, maybe one or two every few weeks) asking me for my opinion on one thing or another. This email comes from a reader who was fired for facebooking about her job. Allow me to put my two cents in.

You can email me here if you have a question that needs attention. Or email me to say hello. That's nice too.

Hi Bitchy,

Up until 7/22/12 I was employed as a server at a family owned restaurant here in lovely PA, as a server for approximately 3 years.  I lost my job because I complained about said job on Facebook.  My fb status on 7/19 basically stated: I'm sick of the restaurant business, no more rolls you glutton, no more refills you camel and $3 is not an acceptable tip on a $40 check.  I used no profanity or names although my profile DID say where I work.  I went in for my shift on 7/22 and was immediately "pulled onto the carpet" by the GM.  He had my fb status printed out and went on to tell me about how it was embarrassing and all of our customers could see what I wrote (even though my profile was set to private and only friends could see my status).  He went on to tell me that it cost me my job.

Said restaurant does not have a social media policy.  The employee policy does rattle on some nonsense about "no complaining...." but is that serious?  I don't even know if I ever signed anything. Anyway, not only do I think they are wrong "legally" but it's complete hypocritical bullshit and discrimination.  The GM himself has made sexual comments about employees while other managers come in and discuss their drunken-one-night-stand-escapades from the previous weekend and the list could go on.

Soooooo, my question to you is:  Do I write a letter to the owner letting them know where they stand? Or go directly to the Labor Relations?  Or, don't do anything and cut my losses?

Thank you so much!
Facebook Fired

Dear Facebook Fired,

That sucks! And I should know because I too have had my ass fired for blogging about a restaurant. Like you, I never mentioned the name of the place and my name was not even attached to it. Nevertheless, they found out about it, called me a "cancer" to the restaurant and made me pack my apron.

It sounds like you got screwed since they didn't even have a social media policy in place. They should have at least give you a warning. If your profile was set to private, then who the hell cares anyway?  All of your friends probably already knew that you served too many rolls to gluttonous camel toed customers. In the future, make sure it set your profile to "friends only" and not "friends of friends." Otherwise, you can say something and someone you know will comment on it and then a friend of theirs can see it and you don't know who that person may be. I wonder how your GM saw your status in the first place. If he is a Facebook friend, there is mistake number one. DO NOT FRIEND YOUR BOSSES.

If you want your job back, I would suggest writing a letter of apology to the owners and explaining that it was an honest mistake and you are so sorry, you learned a valuable lesson, blah blah blah, smoke up asses, etc. They may be willing to give you a second chance seeing that you have been there for three years.

If you don't want your job back (and let's be honest, do you?) then now is your chance to have some fun. I say grab that GM by the balls and squeeze them so hard until some Ranch dressing pops out and he can put it on his pizza. Assuming you are friends with him on Facebook, I would begin to super stalk his profile page and go back and look at every post, photo or article he has on his page for some ammunition. If he has his place of employment listed on his profile, then anything he says or does on Facebook has the potential to make the restaurant look bad. Try to find some status where he said something negative about his job and take a screen shot of it. Maybe there is a photo of him where he had too much too drink and he has a lampshade on his head or a dildo hanging out of his ass. Grab that picture, send it to the owner and ask them if this is what they want representing their establishment. If you're going to get fired for Facebooking, then maybe he can be too. Sure it's mean, but I say fight fire with fire.

The other option is to cut your losses and look for a new job. Sometimes we find that getting fired is just the kick in the pants we need to find something bigger and better. It's easy to be at a job for three years and grow complacent. Maybe you knew you wanted a new job but just didn't want to deal with. Now is your chance to deal with it.

Good luck.


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Jessica Collette said...

haha "made me pack my apron."

I really think the whole social media thing is crap, unless you single out a coworker by name, or talk directly about the company by name, who cares? certainly not the people we serve who can't even remember our names 10 seconds later.

The Artist Formerly Known As Bagel Fairy said...

The whole social media thing IS bullshit. This boss didn't fire her for fear of the customers seeing her post (how would they?) - firing her because he's embarrassed that he doesn't have control over his staff.

Anonymous said...

I am very sorry that you lost your job over something so trivial as a Facebook status; it truly, truly sucks.

That being said...we DO live in a world where social media takes a role in our everyday lives. Companies will often look on a potential employee's Facebook or Twitter to make sure they are "company material" (though how I act on a weekend and how I act on a work day are two completely different things and how dare they judge me).

Even if you are not friends with your boss on FB or don't have your work listed on your profile...there are always still the "regulars" and the people who know you outside of the restaurant. I work in a small town in a VERY popular restaurant that has many regulars and many of my friends, family and acquaintances come into my place of work. I also used to bartend in the town and became friends with my good regulars on Facebook (hey it helps the bar business when I check in and list specials, my regulars will see that I'm working and come visit).

Point is that a lot of people in the town I work know who I am, where I've worked and where I am currently working. This is why I NEVER complain about work on Facebook. You never know who will see it, who has a grudge against you or who will jokingly mention it in front of your employer. My rule of thumb is just not to bitch on FB. I bitch to my best friend, or boyfriend, or parents. And now that I have found Bitchy Waiter, I will bitch on here!

Always remember that what is written on the internet STAYS on the internet, even if it is deleted someone could have taken a screen shot. Nothing on FB is sacred.

Josh said...

I'm sorry she got fired, but what good can ever come of complaining about something on facebook? What purpose does it serve? Are you just looking for sympathy? This isn't the first time I've read a story like this, but I have yet to read a 'I bitched about something at work on facebook and got promoted!' anecdote. If you feel the need to vent, do it the old fashioned way and take it out on your friends, family, and liver.
Best of luck on the job search.

Frank Giannantonio said...

The GM is a worm.
Fresh off of a So Me webinar he paid $47 to attend, and perfectly aligning his schnoz with corporate's fart box.

What a fuckin' shaft.

You just said "Restaurant Business," you didn't even say "My Job."

Your status is set to friends only?

Is GM a friend?

If not, who rolled on you?

Where you work? I'm calling the tool myself.

Your status didn't say anything about your job. it's like you were just feeling sorry for BW after reading one of his posts.

Anonymous said...

Definitely fight it.

I work in a PA restaurant that had no social media policy and we had a hostess who was fired for the same thing (only she said MUCH worse things on FB). She went to the labor relations board and won. The restaurant had to pay her back wages, offer her her job back and post a sign saying that they paid her, offered her job back, that no one could be fired for critical comments on FB, blah, blah, blah. The sign was my favorite part..still have a picture of it. Lol!

Anyway, just know that it takes a pretty long time. I think it was about 6 months til it was all over with. But that meant she got 6 months of back wages. Also, she didn't take the job back...who would want to work for a place that fired you??

Good luck!

Anonymous said...

That is ridiculous, but BW is right, be careful friending your bosses. I worked with a woman who called in sick for a busy weekend shift, then later that day posted pictures saying what a great day she had at the zoo with her boyfriend and kid. She was FB friends with several managers; who were nice and only suspended her.