I'd like to know if the department would fire someone for bad talking the staff in public? If not, then why fire them for writing on Facebook. Of course, no common sense was shown on the side of the firefighter.
How do people find out about it anyway? If the person's comments aren't open to the public, how do you investigate it. It's a concern in our department when our chief was recently injured and a post was "heard" having been placed on facebook only hours after the injury and before any press release. We couldn't figure out how to track it down. Finally, someone confessed to it.
The problem for departments now is if you are going to track what's said on facebook and fire people over it, then you need to police ALL talk mediums including newspapers, forums (like here), chat groups, etc. It's overwhelming. We need to be careful with a brotherhood that used to say "suck it up" and is now trying to change there ways to "if you see something wrong, tell someone", can fall back into the "suck it up" very easily. Where is a safe haven to "vent" or talk about issues anymore?
I admit I don't know what the firefighter said to get him fired, no one has posted it anywhere, but you don't need to know what he said to know that these kind of policing actions can get out of control. What's the solution here? Who gets the task of checking everyone's blogs, logs, pages?
First I think that trying to "control" thinks like Facebook, Twitter and other internet systems is stupid. You can't control them. You must accept them.
In that case and in many others, these systems only put the light on things, which exist for a long time. A few centuries ago, the boss was a "f... bastard", a few years ago, he was still a "f... bastard" and in the next century, he will be a "f... bastard". He is the chief, so, he's a "f.... bastard". That's all.
The difference came from the possibilty to say that to more people than the guys at the Fire service. But in fact, this is like pronographie: internet show X website, but if you read the books from the Marquis de Sade (1740-1814) you will see there is nothing new.
The question is not "who will control?" the main question is "The boss is or is not a f... bastard? and if yes, why?"
Unfortunatly, for historical, and commercial purpose, the fireservice is the best "self estime builder". The population love the firefighter, and we see (just look around the web site) commercial adds talking of the "Bravest" (with a "B" , not a "b" of course!). Each time a firefighter die, this is not his fault. Each time a trucks have an accident, this is because of because and because but never the fault of the FF.
By self persuasion, the FF tend to believe they are really good, and create a "Father Xmas land" in which they live, happy, so happy...
And in this marvellous land, the word "brotherhood" has a special definition: this is fact that everybody say everybody is marvellous. Perhaps because each FF know, inside of him, that he is not so good and that, by saying to other they are good, he hopes, the other will do the same with him.
I think it would be very interessting to know the opinion of other FF from the fireservice which "terminate" this firefighter.
Pierre-Louis / http://wwww.tantad.com
I can only think of one, recent case where the firing of the employee wasn't upheld. An EMT got her job back on appeal, but I would guess that, if the service appeals, it might be reversed.
Supreme Court has ruled in the past that public employees have "limited" free speech.
People want to believe that their time on the social medias are their own, but once they bring in their employer; it's no longer ME but WE.
Users must be smart; what they make public.
Because employers can use broad terms in their disclaimer.
For instance; if they say in their employee conduct policy "commit any action that could bring embarrassment to the employer"; they pretty much have it sealed.
Then, a judge has to decide if it did.
Remember that courts can change as frequently as the wind on matters involving interpretation of the Constitution.
You can talk of employee but we must never forget that the "boss" is the population. We can't accept to play the game from one side but not on the other. I accept the fact that a FF can be fired if he made criticism without reason.
But we must also accept a chief, doing wrong order creating problem on the fire scene, and sometimes death, must also face the Judge.
Google "employees fired over facebook" and see how many links you get.
It is an eye-popper.