In the Trenches: A slap in the Facebook

In this edition of In the Trenches, Acme wonders if employees have the right to bad-mouth the company on social media.

Jimbo was a loose cannon. He’d been working at Acme for just a few months, but they seemed like an eternity to Ralph, his manager in the company’s quality assurance department. Jimbo was belligerent. He was quick to complain about perceived slights and injustices and refused to own up to errors. One day, Jimbo let an entire batch of faulty trimethyl flubdub sail right past him, owing to a brief malfunction on the line. Luckily, the watchful eyes in the fulfillment department caught the problem before any bad product shipped. But it spooked Ralph enough that he issued a written warning and put Jimbo on a performance improvement plan.

Outraged, Jimbo took to his Facebook page to whine that night when he got home. “Acme puts out crap product and then tries to blame it on the workers,” he told his 327 friends, 23 of whom were Acme coworkers. “But why should that surprise me coming from this crap company?”

“Right, bro?” Lenny chimed in. “Acme pays like crap too.” Lenny never actually complained on the job, but he had a pathological need to be liked. And, sure enough, Jimbo “liked” his comment. That didn’t stop Lenny from showing Ralph the Facebook post the next day, after deleting his own contribution to the discourse.

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