11 Ways To Lose Your Job On Facebook

Facebook has become the social media channel everyone loves and loves to hate. It is a powerful platform to share your content as well as being a soapbox to post your feelings and thoughts whether they are appropriate or not.

Social media seems to have hit such a nerve with people sharing anything and everything online with such gay abandon. 11 Ways To Lose Your Job On Facebook

It continues to provide great online fodder that keeps us amused and entertained in an almost voyeuristic fashion.

The reaction to a post that I wrote titled “30 Things You Shouldn’t share on Social Media”  revealed to me the high interest in other people’s online Faux pas with 69 comments so far.

Many people seem to have their common sense gene removed when they leap on a computer in the quiet of their home and think that no one is listening (only the entire planet). It does seem that this thing we call “the social web” is so new that that our evolutionary development hasn’t caught up with the technology and we are still thinking analog when it should be digital!

It seems that sharing online is still so very novel and so early in humans social digital development stage, that we are like young children before we had all our brain cells lined up in the correct sequence that provided logical thought capabilities.

It is like when a child covers their eyes and says “you can’t see me” because they cannot see you.

So when I came across an article from Forbes.com that displays the world’s best examples at the genius level of non thinking on Facebook, I just had to share it.

Here are 10 real world examples of  how people lost their jobs and even careers due to Facebook Faux Pas.

1. The Absent Minded Professor

Gloria Gadsden, an associate professor of sociology at Pennsylvania’s East Stroudsburg University, enjoyed cracking wise on her Facebook account. In January she wrote, “Does anyone know where I can find a very discreet hit man? Yes, it’s been that kind of day.” In February: “Had a good day today. DIDN’T want to kill even one student.” Gadsden’s University, made aware of the posts, found reason to be alarmed given the tragic events at colleges in recent years. The school put Gadsden on indefinite paid leave that lasted a month before she was allowed to return in late March.

2.An Undercover Cop With Loose Lips

An Atlanta police officer was terminated in December after posting sensitive information about his job on Facebook. Among his alleged leaks: his current cooperation with the FBI on a drug case; explicit times when he would be working as a plain-clothes cop; and the fact that he was frustrated at work. The officer’s Facebook account was private, but that didn’t stop the department from booting him.

3. A Loving Supportive Daughter

In December, after General Motors’ chief executive Fritz Henderson left the company and was replaced by Ed Whitacre, Henderson’s daughter, Sarah Henderson, logged on to the automaker’s Facebook page. What she said: “HE F—— GOT ASKED TO STEP DOWN ALL OF YOU F—— IDIOTS. IM FRITZ’S F—— DAUGHTER, AND HE DID NOT F—— RESIGN. WHITACRE IS A SELFISH PIECE OF S—, WHO CARES ABOUT HIMSELF AND NOT THE F—— COMPANY. HAVE FUN WITH GM, I HOPE TO NEVER BUY FROM THIS GOD FORESAKEN COMPANY EVERY AGAIN. F— ALL OF YOU.” Dad must have been proud.

4. A Prison Guard Who Likes Sharing but Not Caring

A Nebraska prison guard allegedly bragged on Facebook in February about smashing an inmate’s face to the ground. Soon thereafter, two more Nebraska prison guards jumped in to voice their support. The state was decidedly unimpressed. All three guards lost their jobs in March.

5. Dead Wrong

The public typically isn’t allowed to see murder victims. So it would seem a bad idea to broadcast photos of dead victims on the Web. But that’s what an emergency medical technician in New York City did last spring, when he allegedly posted Facebook photos of a victim who had been strangled with a hair-dryer cord. He lost his job.

6. A Football Fans Fanatical Support Gets Him Fired

Dan Leone, a Philadelphia Eagles stadium operations worker, was unhappy with the NFL team’s decision to let Brian Dawkins, a safety, sign with the Denver Broncos. So Leone vented to his pals on Facebook, declaring: “Dan is [expletive] devastated about Dawkins signing with Denver … Dam Eagles R Retarted!!” He later deleted the post, but the Eagles fired him over the phone a few days later.

7. Naughty Nurses

Thirteen emergency room nurses and other staffers at Harrisburg Hospital in Pennsylvania were fired after a rousing–and racist–group chat on Facebook. Several of the nurses sued for unemployment compensation; that suit is still pending. They also plan to sue for wrongful termination.

8. Time Off  For Bad Behaviour

When 16-year-old Kimberley Swann decided to chronicle her new job as an office administrator at Ivell Marketing and Logistics in Essex, U.K. on Facebook, she didn’t waste any time. Her first post read: “First day at work. Omg (oh my God)!! So dull!!” Two days later, she complained, “All I do is shred holepunch n scan paper!!!” Her boss discovered the posts three weeks later–and fired her.

9. Flying The Unfriendly Skies

Virgin Atlantic fired 13 of its cabin crew members after they aired nasty thoughts about the airline’s safety standards and calling passengers “chavs”–English slang for poorly educated young people. The critics also claimed that the planes were full of cockroaches and that the airline replaced its engines four times in one year.

10. Teacher Sets A Bad Example

Ashley Payne, a teacher at Apalachee High in Winder, Ga., posted some off-color language along with photos of herself traveling, and drinking, throughout Europe. That’s not exactly the kind of example the school principal thought she should be setting, and asked Payne to resign. Payne later sued the school district; the suit is pending.

11. A Pervy Boss Gets His Revenge

In the U.K. a Facebook user named Lindsay told her friends: “My boss is a total ‘pervvy wanker.'” Too bad her “wanker” boss was also a friend on Facebook. His reply, on Facebook: “Don’t bother coming in tomorrow.”

So have you heard of anyone losing their job from what they shared on Facebook?

Image by frippy


  • Lauren

    Here’s a guy who’s about to lose his position in the army over a Facebook status:

  • http://www.essentialwholesale.com Kayla @EssentialU

    As an employeer this cracked me up…and a bit scary!

  • http://RichardBejah.com Richard Bejah

    My daughter learned the hard way with facebook.. We told her not to post anything but she did.. It came back and bit her on the bum! Hopefully she and others will learn from your post GREAT WORK! RICH :0)

  • http://www.cactusandivy.com Lisa M. Rodgers

    Gotta love social media. Some people don’t realize that their inside voice should stay there. I have hit my backspace key many times after proof reading a tweet or facebook post. I had to ask myself “should I really say that out loud”? LOL

    Thanks for another great post Jeff!

  • Elyse

    I worked with someone who posted regularly about how much he hated his job. This was generally ignored by all of the co-workers he had friended. One day he posted about how much he hated working with a client… that client was his facebook friend. Guess who doesn’t work for the company anymore!

  • Henry Chow

    Great post Jeff. Some opinions should be kept to yourself.

  • http://oooooozoooooone.com Fatin

    Great post , i like to follow all issues about social media , thanks a lot

  • http://www.RawTeacher.com/dlwilsonatl Donna Wilson

    Good stuff…so very true! You would think this would be common sense, but not everyone considers the potential outcome of what they post on social media, & how it can come back to haunt you long after you made a comment/posted a picture/whatever! And you can’t “retract” or erase it…once you’ve said it, that’s it. Of course, many current potential employers, it they are savvy, would want to get a glimpse of what you are really about. Think first, folks. Even though I’m self-employed & an entrepreneur, I wouldn’t want to intentionally offend someone that may be a prospect, new friend or client. Not to say I don’t HAVE opinions; rather, some of the more private areas of my life I don’t want to shout out on a public forum. But to each their own…! :)

  • http://www.theorganicview.com June Stoyer

    People tend to forget that just because they are not in front of a live crowd, what they type on a computer is going to real people. Sometimes I wonder if the schools should offer Social Media Etiquette. Perhaps that is a biz opp for someone out there! Who knows? Do you think the Harvard Business School will consider it? lol

    • Christy

      Actually the concept of social media etiquette IS an excellent business opportunity… expect to see more on this subject.

  • Bobarino

    What astonishes me are the 20-somethings who hope to make an online career out of social media, and yet use the same media as a forum to bash their current or former bosses, work colleagues, the company or organization as a whole, the concept of working for a living in general, etc.

    Even better: the Idiots who pretend to be sick so they can leave work early, and then issue a series of tweets live from the concert they’re attending the same afternoon.

    Sometimes I think people under 30 don’t understand that the rest of us aren’t as stupid as they think we are. We do know how to Google someone and dig thru Twitter, Facebook, etc.

    • NordicEngineer

      That is NOT an age related issue.

    • Dana

      I agree….its the younger users who know how to and gee up using social media. Some, not all, older users don’t get what you can say, can’t say and how privacy settings work, etc. Then again, there are people who don’t think before posting in every generation.

  • http://mklubok.blogspot.com Mike Klubok

    Not just Facebook but you need to be careful about anything you post online. It is all “Out There”. Search engines can comb through that post you regretted posting. Think twice if not more about any thing you put out there. Facebook has had privacy issues that we all know about.

  • Danfletcher71

    I have had to watch what I post. In 2008 when the economy went south, I got let go from my job. A year earlier I had been laid off from another job when the company was sold. That had been the only career field I had ever wanted to work in. I went in to a deep depression. I posted some negative thoughts about the lay off, and even personal jabs at my manager on MySpace, which I had him as a friend. Truthfully I thought he was a great guy, but I took out my negative feelings on him. He understood how I felt, and has since put it behind him, and every now and then we do talk and it is positive. He even wrote me one of the greatest reference letters I have ever had. Then when I lost the other job, I was several months unemployed, even in some cases leaving the interview knowing I just had the job. Perspective employers would look at post, and someone else would be hired. I full well blame my thoughtless disregard for concequence of my actions for why I was unable to find work for so long, and to this day why I am still not employed in my field of choice. I deleted the post, but honestly, once something is on the internet it is there forever.

  • spamless

    So, speaking of (social) stupid media stunts, this article claims you, Jeff Bullas, wrote it; yet the first phrase I happened to highlight and right-click into a Google search brought up the Forbes article you lifted it from word-for-word without attribution: http://www.forbes.com/2010/04/13/how-facebook-ruined-my-career-entrepreneurs-human-resources-facebook_2.html, 
    Bad Behavior
    How Facebook Ruined My Career
    Christopher Steiner and Helen Coster [April 2010]

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1493560483 Michelle Fontaine

    These are great examples! I will be sharing this post. Thank you!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1493560483 Michelle Fontaine

    These are great examples! I will be sharing this post. Thank you!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1493560483 Michelle Fontaine

    I know someone who works in a 3rd shift manufacturing environment. He posts things that can be easily taken for racial slurs, comments such as, ‘well, at least this one can speak some English’  . I’ve warned him that it’s dangerous.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1493560483 Michelle Fontaine

    I know someone who works in a 3rd shift manufacturing environment. He posts things that can be easily taken for racial slurs, comments such as, ‘well, at least this one can speak some English’  . I’ve warned him that it’s dangerous.

  • http://www.facebook.com/CloudBoomers Julie Larson

    A similar account just happened in Sarasota this week where a teacher lost her job because she was in a sex video that was posted!

  • Eydiem1

    As a business owner, none of this surprises me. I am amazed and disappointed at the poor judgement and lack of common sense I see exercised on a daily basis. Excellent article, Jeff. There is a real need for more focus on this problem as social media becomes more and more an integral part of our culture.

  • http://twitter.com/mock_ing_bird mock_ing_bird

    IQs seem to fallen off a cliff in the last few years. Seriously. What part of WORLD WIDE WEB is unclear. It never ceases to amaze me that people talk in one breath about someone’s stupidity going viral, yet believe that some how, as if by magic, their own stupidity will be a well hidden secret. If you trash your boss or your job on line, even if they don’t see it, there will be someone, somewhere that will use that information to their best advantage and your detriment. What would be interesting to know, is that how many idiots having been fired from one job, then repeat the same error in their next job. Another common failing of mankind which has escalated in the last few years is the complete inability of idiots to learn the lessons of their own stupid mistakes.

  • Hopeful

    I posted something I thought was just helpful to someone – on FB….and it was mistakenly thought that I was giving away Beta information about a product. That was not the case – and I was very much shocked when I was let go from a temporary job…that I hoped would become a permanent job.  Lesson learned — to late!

  • http://twitter.com/Britany_Wallace Britany Wallace

    I simply have to give my thoughts here because it is something I feel strongly about. Please keep in mind, I do not intend to start a fight. I just want to point out both perspectives here.

    First, yes most of these stories do warrant firing because they are completely inappropriate things to post at all. Speaking them is one thing, because then someone has to prove you said it, which is very hard to do. Vent to your friends all you want, but don’t publicly (even as private) post things like that online.

    Second, people should be allowed to say what they want on their personal social media pages. They just have to be more careful about who can or cannot see it. I believe that if I have a facebook page and I want to post personal things on there such as “My job is boring” then I should be allowed to post whatever I choose. It is my circle of friends I am talking to and in America we have FREEDOM OF SPEECH.

    People need to grow up and realize that things are changing very fast and the way many people have conversations anymore is online. Therefore, the same protection applies to my typed conversations as it would to my spoken ones. Yes, you still run a risk of someone “hearing” the conversation. But that is ALWAYS a risk you take when you make a thought material.

    Again, not trying to start an argument. People need to realize that they should be more careful about what they post in general. But, we should also be allowed to post WITHIN REASONABLE STANDARDS anything we choose on our social media sites. If your website is for friends, it should be protected by the free speech amendment. If you website is for business purposes, then don’t friend your social circle where you will be tempted to post nasty things about your boss or job.

    Plain and simple.

  • http://twitter.com/NLCuk NLC (UK)

    I think there has to be a fine balance between what one can freely post on Social Media and one’s responsibilities to one’s employer.

    Sometimes humour doesn’t translate well on Social Media, but wouldn’t it be a dull world if we just communicated in dull platitudes, worried that some will deliberately or stupidly take offense at what we have posted?
    As long as someone is not inciting hatred or violence, I think most things are fair game. If someone posts something stupid or misguided, let them do so and let others form their own opinions of that person, but let’s not become an online community constantly watching over our shoulder, in fear of upsetting those higher up the economic food chain than ourselves. Sometimes those people need to be made upset!