Vigilant Blog

News, trends and analysis in employment law, HR, safety & workers' comp

Mar 30, 2010

Termination for MySpace photos OK


A fire chief was entitled to terminate a probationary firefighter for posting official photos on her personal MySpace page, ruled a federal appeals court. The chief wasn’t happy to learn that the employee copied the fire department’s recruiting photo and placed it near a bare-shouldered shot of herself entitled “Fresh out of the shower.” When confronted, she became defensive and denied that she did anything wrong. She claimed other employees had engaged in similar activity but refused to provide any names. The employer eventually terminated her for insubordination. She claimed she was singled out on the basis of gender and race, but the court found no evidence of discrimination (Marshall v. Mayor and Aldermen of the City of Savannah, Ga., 11th Cir, Feb. 2010).

Tips: The Wild West of online social networking can catch employees and employers by surprise. For guidance in this developing area, sign up for our March 25 webinar, “Social Media in the Workplace: Avoiding Legal Liability.”

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