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Fired on Facebook

These days, Facebook isn't just a go-to social media application. The Web site's ubiquitous role in everyday life is also transforming it into a conduit for lawsuits. A few weeks back, I posed about the Australian court that allowed lawyers to serve a couple with lawsuit papers via Facebook. Now, the Calgary Herald reports that a Canadian spa used Facebook to fire an employee, esthetician Crystal Bell.

Is it illegal for an employer to fire a worker via Facebook, or just imprudent? Here in the United States where employment is entirely at will, there aren't any laws, at least as far as I'm aware, that would protect an employee from being fired on Facebook. However, the Supreme Court of Canada, in a 1997 ruling known as the Wallace decision, set out how a firing, if done in a cavalier way, can result in "bad faith"damages in addition to normal severance pay. However, the ruling does not address the issue of whether being fired electronically equates with bad faith. Moreover, at least one lawyer whom Bell contacted advised that she didn't have much of a case -- she'd only been at the spa for two weeks.

Posted by Carolyn Elefant on January 5, 2009 at 03:23 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)

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