Idaho Supreme Court: Yes, you can be fired for saying stupid things on Facebook

By Tom Boggioni
Friday, June 27, 2014 10:46 EDT
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An Idaho nurse saw his appeal for unemployment benefits denied after the state Supreme Court ruled that his Facebook rant threatening to “slap the ever loving bat snot” out of a patient violated his employer’s social media policy.

Joseph Talbot ,of Buhl Idaho, was fired from his job at Desert View Care Center after his employer received a tip from a nursing professor over a Facebook post the professor considered unprofessional and threatening , according to Courthouse News Service.

“Ever have one of those days when you’d like to slap the ever loving bat snot out a patient who is just being a jerk because they can?” Talbot wrote. “Nurses shouldn’t have to take abuse from you just because you are sick. In fact, it makes me less motivated to make sure your call light gets answered every time when I know that the minute I step into the room I’ll be greeted by a deluge of insults.”

According to Talbot he was just venting his frustrations with his job.

Desert View officials took a dim view of his comments and terminated Talbot citing their social media policy which requires employees to treat people “with respect electronically, as well as in person.” The policy also prohibits “slanderous, vulgar, obscene, intimidating, threatening or other ‘bullying’ behavior.”

According to Talbot, he claims he never read the policy but agreed to its requirements when he signed for one of his paychecks. Talbot also stated that the social media policy was unclear and that he was not specifically threatening any patient.

Following his firing, Talbot filed for unemployment benefits and was initially refused before winning on appeal. The Idaho Industrial Commission later reversed that decisionl, stating that Talbot was in violation of his employer’s social media policies.

Talbot then took his case to the Idaho Supreme Court which upheld the Industrial Commission’s decision, stating “… ‘there is no requirement that the claimant’s conduct be willful, intentional or deliberate. The claimant subject’s state of mind is irrelevant.’”

[Young man with angry face using a laptop on Shutterstock]

Tom Boggioni
Tom Boggioni
Tom Boggioni is based in the quaint seaside community of Pacific Beach in less quaint San Diego. He writes about politics, media, culture, and other annoyances. Mostly he spends his days at the beach gazing at the horizon waiting for the end of the world, or the sun to go down. Whichever comes first.
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