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Sometimes Facebook posts can lead to discipline

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in Office Technology,Web Tools

Recent National Labor Relations Board rulings make it seem like employees can get away with writing pretty much anything about work on social media. The NLRB has held that online complaints about working conditions amount to protected activity.

But what about outright confessions of dishonesty?

Recent case: Wayne, a forklift operator at a Pepsi plant in New York, was frequently absent. Excessive absenteeism is a dischargeable offense under the plant’s union contract, and Pepsi moved for arbitration to determine if Wayne should be terminated.

Shortly before the arbitration hearing, Wayne claimed he injured his toe and asked to have the hearing rescheduled. Then, right before the new hearing date, he claimed he hurt himself again and filed for workers’ comp.

Wayne’s plan unraveled when someone at Pepsi spotted a post on Facebook: Wayne admitted filing the workers’ comp claim to delay the arbitration hearing. Pepsi added dishonesty to the reasons it wanted him fired.

The arbitrator concluded the absences weren’t bad enough to warrant termination, but the Facebook post was. The court hearing the subsequent discrimination case agreed and dismissed Wayne’s lawsuit. (Hardy v. Pepsi Bottling Co. of New York, No. 14-CV-4007, SD NY, 2016)

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