By Amy E. Feldman
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Can you be fired for ‘liking’ someone?
In the 1985 movie PeeWee’s big adventure, PeeWee Herman famously said “I like you Dottie! LIKE! I like you!” and by famously I mean famous among people born between 1965-1975 who watched too much tv as kids.
But if your boss finds out that you like a competitor – in the 2013 sense of the word, which is to say, you clicked the ‘like’ button on Facebook, can he kick you out of his playhouse?
Conventional wisdom has always been that whatever you say on Facebook can get you fired, and that’s probably a pretty good rule for you to follow, but recent court decisions have shown that now the law isn’t quite as clear on whether you can be fired for what you say on line.
A sheriff running for reelection in Hampton, Virginia found that two of his employees had ‘liked’ his opponent so when he won reelection, he fired them. They sued, saying that it violated their rights to free speech. They won because Facebook ‘liking’ is a form of free speech.
Now, if you don’t work for the government but instead for a private employer, you can, for the most part, still be fired for your social media posts, especially where they are disparaging of your customers, or racist or otherwise hostile.
Not to mention that you won’t get people who like you that way.