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May 18, 2021

Should employers fire workers based on Facebook behaviour?

Yesterday at, we featured guest blogger Stuart Schultz – the author whose book,’s Guide to Life After College, discusses how people should clean up their online profiles in the face of prospective employers.

The gist: not all companies monitor your Facebook page, but if they do, it’s best to keep that pic of you gripping a bong or flashing your (expletive) away from the Internet.

Yet whether or not employers actually peek at your profile, chances are you have an opinion on the matter. And never has the “should companies check up on their employees online?” debate been more topical than today, with news coming out of the U.S. that a waitress was fired by her restaurant for complaining about a bad tip on Facebook.

According to the Charlotte Observer, a 22-year-old employee of a local pizza joint was canned after taking her opinions of a $5 tip to her online profile.

The woman “blasted” a couple who sat at her table for three hours (one hour past clock-out time) before word got back to her bosses, who took particular offence to the waitress calling her customers cheap and mentioning the restaurant by name.

In the pizza spot’s defence, it did have a company policy in place banning workers from “speaking disparagingly about customers and casting the restaurant in a bad light on a social network,” a rule that – no matter how vague and open to interpretation – at least covers them from ex-employee backlash.

But there’s got to be two sides to a story like this.

From what I gather from Schultz’s post yesterday, it’s totally up to employees to monitor their online behaviour, and that bosses and employers are well within their rights to creep your Facebook page, for example, if they see fit.

While I can get behind that first part, it’s the second bit that seems like it needs a bit of ironing out.

What do you think? Is it fair for employers to check up on their employees on Facebook and, if the situation calls, disciplining them based on info they’ve found online?

By Jason Buckland, MSN Money



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

James HaversJames Havers

James is the senior editor of MSN Money living in Toronto. He has worked for the Nikkei Shimbun (Tokyo),,, Canadian Business and other publications. Havers turned to journalism after teaching overseas.

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...