We’re all certainly entitled to our opinions and equally as free to share them, but that freedom to speak (or post or tweet) doesn’t necessarily equal freedom from consequences. The Web is flush with stories of disgruntled employees who have spoken their minds about their employers or about unfortunate situations at work and were promptly shown the door.
Take for instance, two wait staff recently fired from Famous Dave’s restaurant in Bismarck, North Dakota for a Facebook rant apparently complaining about the company’s tipping policy. One employee was wearing her uniform and identified herself as an employee of Famous Dave’s. Whether by her hand or someone else’s, the post was ultimately shared on the company’s Facebook page, garnering her opinions far more public attention.
A few years ago, two TV reporters from a Little Rock, Arkansas station posted rants on YouTube, complaining about the stupidity of Arkansas residents and their dissatisfaction in their jobs. The husband and wife duo, along with several other station employees who were involved, were swiftly sacked.
Even celebrities aren’t immune from the backlash. Shortly after the Tohoku tsunami that devastated Japan, Gilbert Gottfried – voice of Aflac’s duck mascot for 11 years – posted an insensitive joke on Twitter referencing the disaster. The company, which did a majority of its business in Japan, wasted no time in dismissing Gottfried.
Whether you’re still occupying the lower rungs of the corporate ladder or you’re the face (or voice) of the company, where your job is concerned, the general rule of thumb should be don’t make your company look bad.