Should people lose their jobs for saying the wrong thing?
The increasing ability of anyone to share their thoughts through the media or online is increasingly leading to people losing their jobs when they make a blunder. Politics obviously where this happens most, it has always been the case that misrepresenting government policy to the media could get you the boot. Increasingly politicians get into hot water when off the record or putting their views online. This is in part due to a blurring of the line between public and private and media and the people as views can be posted on blogs or sites like twitter and facebook and then be seen by thousands. While what is said through these mediums may not always be diplomatic should they really be considered something that can get you the sack?
Please cast your vote after you've read the arguments.
You can also add to the debate by leaving a comment at the end of the page.
Supporting an employee after such a statement could imply agreement by the employer
If an employer continues to employ an employee after they have made an embarrassing statement, or an offensive statement, they may be seen as impliedly agreeing with such a statement. This is not something that employers want to linger over their reputation. For example, Glen Hoddle in his epic statement of disabled people being born disabled due to karma from their previous life[[http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-11845363]]. If FIFA continued to allow Glenn Hoddle to coach England, they would be impliedly accepting that his comments were acceptable! Even if they were to give a warning or a disciplinary, people would see this as a light punishment and a sign that FIFA did not take the comment seriously and did not administer the appropriate punishment. In order for the employer to maintain their reputation, sometimes sacking an employee is the only way to appease the public.
Free speech is separate from job performance. Actions should speak louder than but in the today's international media cluster dynamic; image and quotes have precedence over real work and actual effort.
Glenn Hoddle was a good coach and the fact that he was sacked had nothing whatsoever do with Football or his skills as a coach. It was centered on the stress placed on image in almost everything. Sponsors,advertising revenue and therefore image is what almost every field stands on today; rather than talent or the love of the game. This is a sad fact. The integrity and value of work needs to be reinstated in jobs that are constantly under media watch.
it can ruin employer reputation
If an employee espouses that their workplace has poor working conditions or a bad Human Resources Department it is bad news for the employer. Their reputation is damaged. This would lead to less people being interested in working for them and less customers or suppliers would be willing to trade with the employer. In these circumstances, where the conduct of the employee has had such a detrimental effect on the employers business, we cannot be surprised that that employee gets the sack. It amounts to gross misconduct.
Gross misconduct cannot occur outside the work place! Gross misconduct is not fully defined, but all the main examples of gross misconduct revolve around action within the workplace [[http://www.human-resource-solutions.co.uk/Areas%20of%20Interest/Discipline.htm]]. Speaking outside of your employment should not be able to amount to gross misconduct.
it breaks down the relationship of employment
Gross misconduct is
If an employee complains about their working conditions, how can the relationship continue as it was? How can there be any trust. If the employer knows that the employee is not happy, they will know that they are not working to their best level and will constantly be asking them to do more. This will heighten the troubled nature of the relationship and the employer should be able to sack the employee in respect of that.
When problems are voiced; problems are resolved. Whether complaining will work for an employee depends upon the importance of that worker in his/her workplace/office/company.
Some employees are easily dispensable; as in temp jobs; here workers should be extra-careful not to complain to avoid getting sacked. Other jobs require a rarer skill set that is harder to replace. If an employee with these skills does not complain then his/her work will suffer and the boss will be unhappier. However if s/he does then the boss can do something to address the employee's issues and both the boss and worker will be happier/better-served.
serious negligence which causes unacceptable loss, damage or injury
The Acas Code of Practice lays down policies that employers are to comply with. As with regards to misconduct, the code states that serious negligence which amounts to loss, damage or injury is to be regarded as gross misconduct[[http://www.acas.org.uk/index.aspx?articleid=919]]. If an employee complains about their work place on a social website, open for customers and potential employees to see, the employee is guilty of this. Even if said as a joke, or off the cuff, their carelessness caused the company financial loss and reputational injury. This then would be enough to amount to gross misconduct and therefore employees could be sacked without notice for such conduct.
Negligence is the careless breach of a duty. Therefore, in order to be negligent, you must owe a duty. The issue here is that outside of work, normal employees do not owe any duty to their employer. We can see how politicians do and other public figures, and so perhaps they can be sacked for breaching such a duty. However, a regular Jo employee owes no such duty to maintain the employees reputation. If there is no duty, there can be no breach of that duty and therefore gross misconduct does not apply.
It is not professional
While it is okay to voice out your own opinion, there should be a limit to whatever we say. Every opinion should not affect anyone else. Opinion that can cause blunder should be kept away from public.And since the employees knows more about the employer than the public does, it is considered professional to keep information of the company and employer to the employee himself or herself
Yes, people should be accountable for what they say if it's inappropriate.
Yes, i believe that people should be accountable for what they say or do if it's inappropriate. It is very unprofessional and it would cause a bad name for the company. As a professional employee we tend to forget that when we are employed we not only represent ourselves but we also represent the company and the employer. Also, professional employees need to remember that being professional means that in any situation it is not appropriate to say anything that would offend other employees or customers. Sometimes, employees take their personal lives to work and it sometimes cause problems to arise. There are employees who try to find other co-workers to confide in and it ends up leaking out to other co-workers and rumors spread and then problems occur. These are sometimes what causes people to say things that are wrong or shouldn't be said at all. Being humans, we tend to say things without thinking about it. Sometimes we think we are helping with the problem but we just end up making it worse. For example, from personal experience, Sam's Club is a really great place to work. You learn a lot from working there, at least i did from working in the jewelry department. But the big problem over there is people tend to get in trouble by saying things that are wrong. Like, spreading rumors about people or just saying something offending to a co-worker gets you in trouble. Especially if it deals with that persons race, religion, and anything that could offend that person. One of my co-workers was jokingly talking about the stereotypes of another country not knowing that the co-worker in the same room was from there and it offended her. The guy that made the joke got written up and got a warning. I honestly believe that it is wrong to say things that could be offending because everyone has feelings and if it's too the extreme of making someone not wanting to come back to work or something that would make the company's reputation bad then yes i believe that people should lose their jobs for it.
Yes, it is against the law.
In situations where you go to spend your whole day of work, you should be able to feel comfortable. Sometimes, saying the wrong thing could be harrasment. Depending on the situation, if an employee doesn't appreciate what another employee says to them that seems offending and makes them uncomfortable then that basically could mean harrasment. In companys today, a lot of people lose their jobs from saying the wrong things, which is a lot of times related to sexual harrasment. When your work place becomes a place where you don't feel safe or want to go to anymore dealing with harrasments and all then yes it is okay for people to lose their jobs from saying the wrong things that could lead an employee to feeling uncomfortable. Just like saying offending things about someone's race is just as bad as harrassing someone at work. I know of people that lose their jobs from saying and doing the wrong things at work. Sometimes, one employee could not appreciate what you say but the other employee keeps saying it, that could get you in big trouble especially if you know that the person doesn't appreciate it. If an employee is married, and a co-worker has a crush on that employee and tries to get involved with her by saying things that could imply to her that he is trying and already knows that she is married and doesn't appreciate it then that is harrasment. If these kinds of things happen and no one corrects the employee that was doing and saying all the wrong things then that would just give the company a bad name and it would also cause the workers to not want to work at a company like that. All employees want to work at a place where they feel safe and comfortable. Also, employees like jobs that actually show that they care about them. That when they get into situations like sexual harrasment and all that the company will do anything in their power to help them feel safe. So i believe that when situations like sexual harrasment is involved or major things dealing with racial and negative things that offend people and could make a company's reputation go bad then yes people should lose their jobs for saying and doing the wrong things.
Where will you get the chance to say what you really mean?
People have things they need to get off their chest. In the world of politics and media where every word needs to be so closely monitored and you have to be seen to please everyone, the tension can mount up until it becomes unhealthy. Everyone has people they secretly hate, groups of people that annoy them, societal taboos they think are stupid or unpopular ideas they agree with. If you are someone influential who is very closely monitored, you won't be able to tell your friends or even your partner without the press finding out and taking it way out of proportion. An anonymous identity on the Internet should be a good way to say what you really mean, and yet employers will actively search you out on forums even when you're not using your own name, it happened to me after I posted a massive rant about a company who didn't employ me.
(There's always the can)
This is not true for all jobs; only jobs where one is in the public eye or jobs that you talk about when 'you' are in the public eye.
That is, first if you're famous anything politically incorrect that you say will be held against you; it doesn't matter where and how.
Second, If you have a job that doesn't make you famous; you should be careful not to whine on face-book or public blogs or anywhere else your boss or colleagues or potential employers can access.
Whining and backbiting doesn't look good for anyone.
If you want to complain take it out creatively in a painting, in a short story; so even if people know you're taking about them they can't really pin it on you without making it worse for themselves. Do it with friends you can trust in a private place where nothing anyone says or does is recorded. Do not chat about your boss with a colleague the boss can always be looking over your shoulder. Workplace computers also have desktop viewer-ship that allow bosses to view your computer-screen without physically being there.
In politics things get taken out of context
It is the name of the game in politics to twist words and to ensure the maker of any statement in the opposition party looks bad to the public. This is what Labour did with Tory peer Howard Flight.
Labour MP's cried 'eugenics' and the public embarrassment followed. Lord Howard had to apologise to David Cameron. But if we look at the comment, it is nothing to do with encouraging the breeding of one class over the other! It is stating that if we lower benefits per child then people will have more children to get more money! This is not eugenics but an observation of social trends. It was the opposition party who turned this innocent comment into a more serious breach of human compassion. But Howard Flight should not have felt the wrath for that.
Correct, it is the aim of the game in politics to use anything your opposition says against them. However, as a public figure, knowing that people will be eager to adjust the meaning of your phraseology in such a way should mean that politicians are all the more careful and aware of their choice of words and how they express their points. The apology required then was not for the immorality of the content of what was said, but for the stupidity in saying something innocent in a way which could be twisted. It is the role of a public figure to maintain face, and in failing to do Howard Flight did not comply with his duties of employment, and this indeed could be a reason for dismissal [[http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/Employment/RedundancyAndLeavingYourJob/Dismissal/DG_175834]].
Freedom of Speech
In situations like this where a person loses their job for saying the wrong things, i believe that it depends on how bad the situation is. It really depends on how a person defines "wrong." I believe that everyone in the world has a different mindset. Each one has their own way of thinking just like how everyone has a different way of life. If an employee wasn't able to state his or her opinion on something or just saying whatever they want to say in general, then i think that it takes away their freedom of speech. Here in America, the Amendment 1, which has freedom of speech is one of the most important things. I believe that people shouldn't be scared to voice their opinion. No one can really define what wrong is, sometimes it's usually an unpopular vote and one loses his or her job from it. But if in situations where an employee should stand up for themselves then i don't believe it's wrong. Maybe in the company's eyes it's wrong because they might get a bad reputaion from it, but at the same time what if it's something that is right in other people's eyes. Yes, we do represent a company when we are employed with them and we as employers have to always watch what we say and do because it might hurt the company's name. The thing is, we shouldn't go to the extend of it when we put ourselves in a situation where we believe something else. We need to stand up for ourselves and not be afraid of getting punished because our beliefs are different and whatever we say might be wrong to others but to us it's not. Basically, i say that when in situations where we need to stand up for our values, beliefs, morals, and things that we know are right in our eyes then it really shouldn't matter if we get fired. But when in situations like this, i don't believe that people should lose their jobs for standing up and stating their opinions whether it is right or wrong. Everyone has a right to Freedom of Speech especially here in the United States of America.
What do you think?