Car Dealership Fires Employee over Facebook Post

Is this a Terminable Offense?

This is a fascinating story of social media, automotive dealerships and the NLRB.  Without going into enormous detail, here is the a good summary of the article from Automotive News, Social Media Surprise.

So, the employee wrote a post that was not complimentary of the dealership and apparently did so twice. The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) decided that the two posts weren’t the same.  The posts were about his dealership, or his dealership group.   The first post was about criticizing the dealership for serving hot dogs at 5-series launch event at the BMW dealership.  What?  5-Series owners and shoppers don’t like hot dogs?  Okay, I get his point and it’s kinda funny.  It certainly isn’t worth getting fired over.  And would be a laughing event at Suzuki of Wichita or similar dealerships.  The NLRB said it would have been wrong to fire over this post.

So, the next post was about a customer who drove a Land Rover into a lake on a test drive.  This is the one that caused him to get fired.  Maybe not the best idea, but fire the employee?  His caption was “This is your car.  This your car on drugs” to go along with this posted photo.  The NLRB decided it was permissible to terminate because of this post.  Geesh, talk about a fuzzy picture for definition.  If we can’t laugh at ourselves, aren’t we taking ourselves too seriously?

Bottom line is that if the dealership group is “too proper”  (and I pronounce “too proper” with my best British accent, which isn’t all that good), then the employee shouldn’t be working there.  We are all “at will” employee and an employer should  be able to fire an employee for something like this.  While I don’t agree with firing a valuable employee for this reason, I respect their right to fire.  And, for that reason, the NLRB was correct in upholding the termination.  Even if it was stupid to terminate over that.