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EMS News in Focus
by Arthur Hsieh

Would you trash your boss on Facebook?

By Arthur Hsieh

Editor's note: The Connecticut woman who was fired after she posted a negative remark about her boss on Facebook could set a new precedent for social media in the workplace. Editorial Advisor Art Hsieh gives his take on how you can protect yourself online.

As I've commented before, social media and the workplace is a slippery slope. This case of an EMT possibly being unlawfully terminated for comments made on Facebook will have potential ramifications about how we make comments about our professional lives on personal time.

I can't necessarily agree that putting up what's essentially a permanent record of an opinion onto the web for all to see is the same as yacking around the proverbial water cooler.

At the same time I also can't see that an organization has the right to restrict free speech rights of one of its employees, when he or she is not at work.

One thing is clear to me though — why even get into it in the first place? Our level of comfort around media should not be so high it tramples common sense and decorum.

It relates to being a professional. There is a time and place to assert your employment rights. Employers are required by law to keep labor issues of individuals private. You would think that employees would want to do the same, or at least keep it among peers as the case progresses.

Once you write something down and hit the send or post button, any thought, opinion or fact is out there. And it will stay out there for a very long time. Meaning, other people will see it, whether it was meant for them or not. Ask the guy in Georgia about that.

Do you really want that to happen?

About the author

EMS1 Editorial Advisor Art Hsieh, MA, NREMT-P currently teaches at the Public Safety Training Center, Santa Rosa Junior College in the Emergency Care Program. Since 1982, Art has worked as a line medic and chief officer in the private, third service and fire-based EMS. He has directed both primary and EMS continuing education programs. Art is a textbook author, has presented at conferences nationwide, and continues to provide patient care at an EMS service in Northern California. Contact Art at Art.Hsieh@ems1.com.
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