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Employer Law Report

Social Media Firing of the Week. (Final Score: God 10 – Waitress 0)

Posted in Employment Outtakes, Traps for the Unwary, Workforce Strategies, Workplace Privacy

The Internet is burning up this morning with the story of an Applebee’s waitress who was fired for posting on Reddit, a social news and entertainment site, the receipt from a customer who gave her no tip on a $35.00 check, writing "I give God 10% why do you get 18?" Unfortunately, the waitress did not obscure the customer’s signature when she posted a picture of the receipt, which naturally set off a firestorm of Reddit users and others on the Internet attempting to identify the customer. The customer apparently then contacted Applebee’s and demanded the waitress’s termination.

While there is plenty of reason to sympathize with the waitress, particularly if the facts are as represented here and here, it is hard to fault Applebee’s for its decision at least to discipline the waitress. As I see it, this was an individual gripe by the waitress, so no concerted protected activity for the NLRB to get riled up about and, regardless of whether he deserved it or not, she created at least one really unhappy customer.

Brian Hall