Employee Arthur “Mac” Love with the Maryland government was fired for a controversial social media post. The question is did the company wrongfully fire him?
The post was on Loves’ personal Facebook account. He constructed comments as well as posted memes that sympathized and supported the case of Kyle Rittenhouse. Kyle Rittenhouse case was a touchy subject on its own with the shooting during the social justice riots. The case digs a deeper root for communities as America is fighting for social equality. The Kyle Rittenhouse case was still under investigation on its way to trial when Love was posting the comments. Following his termination, Love decided he was a victim of viewpoint discrimination and decided to file a lawsuit against the state of Maryland.
The post was supporting police brutality, one meme saying things like “don’t be a thug if you cant take a slug” or “I’m grateful that conservatives are rallying behind this kid. He genuinely seems like a good person.” It also provided multiple comments about Kyle Rittenhouse before he went to trial saying he was policing his community. Love’s remarks caused a lot of controversy within the state of Maryland because of the public debate about police brutality. Ultimately, since Love worked for the state government he was fired.
State employee Collin said “The nature of the termination that occurred, it harmed him as a person and it’s quite unfortunate,”
The State government made a statement following Love’s termination saying he went against the mission of the agency.
During the movements happening in the summer of 2020, there was national talk about social injustice, gun rights, and racism. There were a lot of controversial conversations happening across the globe that companies had to take into account with respect to their social media policies. With sensitive topics that can be emotionally charged, companies are having to balance the needs for employees’ free speech with impacts to their corporate brand.
While Love argues his first amendment rights were violated, the law suit is still under investigation.
Social Media and Employees
Employers tend to monitor the social media of their employees when they have a strict brand image they want their employees to follow. Understandably social media policies are a part of the majority of employers hiring in today’s world. Organizations adopt social media policies so employees understand any employment policies concerning use of their personal social media accounts and what impacts that might have on their employment. Policies normally state what is acceptable and what is not and they can also monitor the usage of your using of social media while at work.
Example of a workplace social media policy:
Social media policies might also outline the following areas:
- social media policy
- usage during work
- post content about the job and it co workers
- monitoring of employees
Social media in the workplace surrounds hiring and being an employer in today’s day and age because of how much social media has taken over. Social media has become a place where people show a sense of their lifestyle and who they are as a person. Employers also stress the importance of not sharing to social media confidential information about the company or the behind the scenes of the company. Social media gives an outsider’s perspective on who you are and what you stand for and people can take offense from the company you work for just because of the things you post on your personal account.
A couple of good examples that are more relatable and understandable to the younger generation is how :
- Teachers are not allowed to make posts of themselves drinking or related things, nor allow their students to friend them on social media for the safety of the students.
- If a worker for an athletic brand posts with the competitors clothing, consumers will believe that other brand is just as good.
Was Love wrongfully fired?
Loves stated that he believes his First Amendment rights are being violated. However, precedent has shown that employers do have the power to have a say in the filtering of social media content. Like anything, you can say what you want and what you believe but in certain circumstances, there can be backlash for it. I feel that the Maryland government did what they felt was right for the image of their company. Social media policies are provided by employers for the safety of employees as well as the company in situations like this. An employer can really fire you for whatever they feel is right even if it doesn’t seem logical. Jobs want who they want representing them and they were not wrong for the termination of Mac Love. The company did what they felt was needed when an employee went against the mission of where he worked.
“The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has reversed the decision of an administrative law judge (ALJ) and held lawful an employer’s social media policy prohibiting disparagement of the company and others, “inappropriate communications.”