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Fired over facebook

(121 Posts)
scruffybird Thu 23-Jun-11 13:22:10

I am in an awful position and wonder if any of you knowledgable ladies can help.
I work in a school and am under investigation for writing on facebook about my feelings after a recent school event.
Sorry don't feel I can go into too much detail on here. But I did not name anyone or the school.
I am worried they can get rid of me for gross misconduct and that I will not be able to then get references for my next job.
Any advice?

Euphemia Thu 23-Jun-11 13:24:55

Speak to your union.

hellospoon Thu 23-Jun-11 13:25:05

facebook is the root of all evil. I have no real advice however you are in a professional role which expects you to set standards and remain professional at all times. Also facebook is a public forum just like mumsnet is so if you don't want your life to be discussed you shouldn't put it for the world to see.

You will know if the school can hold anything against you, you should probably start now wit hany apologising or gathering unions which you may need to help you

scruffybird Thu 23-Jun-11 13:26:18

Not in a union

knittedbreast Thu 23-Jun-11 13:27:29

surely there are not any rules about fb yet so you might be ok, no laws to break as such.

FilthyDirtyHeathen Thu 23-Jun-11 13:27:43

Sorry you have this worry. Don't say anything or apologise until you know what they are accusing you of. Have you been suspended?

iklboo Thu 23-Jun-11 13:28:37

How did they get to find out about it? Someone must have seen your FB page & informed the school/complained?

lostintransition Thu 23-Jun-11 13:28:58

Does your school have a social networking policy in place?
Is what you wrote on facebook quite vague or very obvious about what it was about?

scruffybird Thu 23-Jun-11 13:28:59

No not been suspended, they are investigating. Sorry need to go back now. will check in later. thanks everyone so far

Groovee Thu 23-Jun-11 13:29:58

I've you have written something and they have seen it with their own eyes then yes you could get in to mega trouble. I know someone who lost her job for writing on her blog about being attacked at work by a child unaware that the parents of the child had searched and found her blog and copied it. She removed it and apologised directly to the parents but it was too late.

HerHissyness Thu 23-Jun-11 13:30:20

What were you thinking? Sorry, but unless you were a chilean miner, how did you not know that people ARE being fired left right and centre over writing crappy updates on the evil FB? grin

I feel for you, really I do. Go get some advice at the CAB, know your rights and as hellospoon says, start apologising grin or at least coming up with a really good PR type spin to strengthen your position.

How scathing were you?

thaigreencurry Thu 23-Jun-11 13:30:37

Is there an internet policy?

Without knowing exactly what you said and how long you have been employed there it is difficult to advise you.

FilthyDirtyHeathen Thu 23-Jun-11 13:31:13

Bringing the organisation into disrepute is often cited when things get posted on public sites. Have they said on what grounds they are investigating you - did they mention gross misconduct? Check your contract or their policy on this sort of thing - although I'm guessing they might not have one. I assume you were posting on fb from home rather than from work.

WhoAteMySnickers Thu 23-Jun-11 13:38:54

I'm sorry to tell you that it's a sackable offence where I work to have them find out that you write about or even allude to work in any way, shape or form, on Facebook. Several people have been dismissed for gross misconduct.

Presumably you have been given a letter regarding the investigation which details what it is you've alledgedly said/done?

You may not have named any particular person or the school on FB but it may still be obvious to anyone that knows you --particularly back stabbing colleauges --and knows where you work exactly what you are talking about.

I would suggest deleting what you wrote or de-activating your account while the investigation is being carried out, however if they've already copied or printed your wall posts that will not help.

Can you tell us any more without giving anything away that you think might identify you?

RevoltingPeasant Thu 23-Jun-11 13:41:46

scruffy I'm sorry. I think the best thing is as others have said, find out through HR about your school's internet/ social media policy - would be astonished if they DIDN'T have one, as teachers have been getting in trouble for some time now for stuff they write up on the web. Then start apologising pronto. If you show remorse and/or that you won't do it again, they may reconsider. You might tackle this by going straight to your line manager, fessing up, and asking what the best course of action for you to take is. They should advise you if they are a decent sort, even if they can't keep you on in the end.

youarekidding Thu 23-Jun-11 13:42:48

My school have a social networking site policy.

Most staff are pissed off about it. I however can see its place and rarely use FB as I have MN to rant on. grin

Thing is seems even if you write 'crappy day, people pissing me off, how much longer can I take this?' or something along those lines if someone/ anyone knows you've had a bad day at work they can link it to this.

Its up to them though to prove it was about work and brings the co into disrepute not you to prove otherwise.

zipzap Thu 23-Jun-11 13:46:20

Sorry to hear that.

As a start, sow about looking at your facebook account and making copies of the page(s) and posts that you think are the ones that are causing concern? You need to have a record of what they actually said so that it can't be turned into something much worse by chinese whispers or bad memories etc. if you use firefox there is a great extension/appn (sorry can't remember what they are called) called ScreenGrab! that adds an option onto your right mouse menu and it will get great screen grabs of entire pages for you very easily.

I'd then take everything off for the time being - not sure if there is a way to go inactive for a little while so that you can go back on it later but so that you can be shown to be pro-actively reducing anything that they thought might be controversial. At least set the privacy settings to the highest you can as a minimum

How many people are you friends with on fb - some good friends or lots and lots of people that you know vaguely but that will know that you work in a school (and therefore even if you do not mention it they will know what you are talking about?)? Unfortunately it is different from venting on something like MN where you are anonymous (assuming your nickname is suitably vague), on fb it's all about the person.

do you belong to a union you can talk to or have legal insurance on your house or car insurance that you can to a lawyer through and get advice from, otherwise how about CAB?

Do you know who might have reported you? Or how they know about your comments? Were you expecting anyone from school to see them / comment on them? Do you know if anyone else made any comments on facebook about the event - and if so, get screen grabs of them as well. Are they concerned with the content of what you put or the fact that you put anything at all? its always worth writing down now why you wrote what you wrote, who you were expecting would see it, who would be interested in it and why, who would not be interested in it and why, your feelings at the time, your feelings now, anything else that can possibly be related to it... Send it to yourself in an email so that it is effectively dated and keep a print out of it (along with print outs of the screengrabs) and keep a file with everything in separately to keep yourself organised with this.

Did something happen at the event that you can use to counter attack them with - that eg it was badly managed and went badly which made you look bad but you felt that if you said anything at the time you would have been picked on/had problems/been bullied etc. Therefore if they had been reasonable and you had been able to tell them xyz you wouldn't have needed to vent on FB etc -

It might also be worth googling to see if you can see other cases where facebook has been used to sack someone and see what reasons/bits of law were given. Then think how that applies to your case and what your response would be if the same was applied to you.

Finally (sorry, seem to have gone on a bit) re-read your terms and conditions and any work policies to see what policies they have about using facebook or mentioning the school in public or whatever so you know how they specifically are going to be 'getting' you and if you can argue that you didn't know any better as there was nothing in your t&c to suggest that this would be an issue - or that they are being over subjective in their interpretation of the t&c, whatever it turns out to be.

good luck!

Birdsgottafly Thu 23-Jun-11 13:49:06

Don't post any information on here. They can fire you for gross misconduct, in theory. If you are in a proffessional position or come into contact with anyone who is vunerable you cannot post about your day on a public forum. I would think that they would do their best to just make it a disciplinary matter, you can be disiplined for gross misconduct. Make it clear that you have learned your lesson and do not try to excuse your behaviour. They will still give you a reference but most job applications ask if you have been sacked or disiplined in the last three years.

Try not to worry about it before it happens and make sure that it is the last incident as that will go in your favour should you need to change jobs in the future.

Oh, Scruffy, what were you THINKING???

I work in a school, very senior position... we have had SO much staff training about this issue - I have countless Friend Requests from past and present students, and never accept any of them. I do have one or two friends from school on there (colleagues...) but we've been given exceedingly strict instructions.

And I NEVER write about school stuff on there. IT's just not worth it.

You really do need to talk to your headteacher about this if you can. Face to face whilst 'under investigation' is always better if you can manage it.

PM me if you wish for any offline chat/advice.
(hug)

Euphemia Thu 23-Jun-11 13:52:23

What an idiot: posting school-related stuff on Facebook, AND you're not in a union? hmm

No hugs from me.

Icelollycraving Thu 23-Jun-11 14:02:44

I had to tell my staff that writing how much they hate their job/colleagues etc was something that they could lose their job over particularly as they had the employer listed so could come up on a search even if I hadn't seen their posts. They thought I was just being mean,this was grown women in their 20s 30s. Losing your job? It does happen,you may get away with some form of disciplinary,call a union if you remain in your job & learn from this.

Euphemia, a little bit of sympathy never does any harm, do you think she needs to hear stuff like that just now?

Euphemia Thu 23-Jun-11 14:06:21

If you come on AIBU, you can't expect sympathy if in fact you have been unreasonable.

CurrySpice Thu 23-Jun-11 14:06:32

I think you've been very silly OP sad

well, I can see your argument but I think it's barking!! wink I still say try to ooze the milk of human kindness from your pores.

Go on. Give 'em a squeeze!! SYmpathy and a bit of help would be a good call here - it's a dreadful position to find oneself in, even if one has been reckless.

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