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Employees in trouble over Facebook preferences
6/12/2012
 
Employee Benefit News highlights two instances in which employees were fired for expressing their preferences on Facebook. The employees sued on grounds the employers violated their freedom of speech.

In the first incident, a Library of Congress worker says he was fired when he "liked" a Facebook page of an organization advocating adoption of children by gay couples. The 30-year-old library employee, who previously had received only glowing work evaluations, said the library became a hostile work environment after his supervisor learned he was gay.

He filed a complaint with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. A ruling is expected later this month.

In the second incident reported by Employee Benefit News, a sheriff in Virginia fired six of his employees when he discovered they "liked" the Facebook page of his political rival, a candidate for the sheriff’s elected post. “In that lawsuit, the U.S. District Court found in favor of the sheriff, saying the firings were legitimate because ‘liking’ someone on Facebook does not constitute free speech and is not protected under the First Amendment,” the publication reported.

It adds employers should develop social media policies that don’t choke off protected and private speech and should enforce discipline evenhandedly.