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Chipotle Try and Fail to Fire an Employee for Tweeting Negatively About Working There

articles.philly.com
As social media has become more commonplace, people have fallen into the comfortable, dangerous habit of treating it like any other form of social interaction, forgetting in the process that much of what they're posting can be seen by just about everyone. Dozens of times a week some random screengrab will turn up on 9Gag featuring an idiot complaining about their job/employer/teacher/whoever on Facebook, only to be called out by the very same person they were whinging about. Sometimes they even lose their job over it.

In some of these cases they lose their job for some other reason and the post was just the catalyst, but when it appears to be the one and only thing that led to the sacking, workplace ethics have to be called into question. Now, one of these instances has actually gone all the way to court. On the 25th of January, a customer tweeted Mexican fast food chain Chipotle, thanking them for a free food offer, to which employee and veteran James Kennedy (pictured above) responded: "@ChipotleTweets, nothing is free, only cheap #labor. Crew members make only $8.50hr how much is that steak bowl really?"

There is a company regulation that prevents staff from posting "disparaging, false" statements online or in any other public setting, so Kennedy removed the tweet, but it didn't end there. Two weeks later, Kennedy was stirring up trouble again, handing around a petition for staff to get shift breaks, when he was promptly fired.

Kennedy took the case to court, and during the hearing the employer claimed that she had fired him because she was worried that he was going to become violent during the argument about the petition. That claim didn't do Chipotle much good, as the court ruled that they had to rehire Kennedy, pay back his lost wages, and crucially, rescind their illegal social media policy.

Understandably, Kennedy didn't actually take his job back, he now works at American Airlines, but he did say he would spend his recouped wages on food from the chain, since he still really likes it. Establishments might not like to be criticised by their staff, but they have a right to do it, online or otherwise, and if they think the claims against them are false, they have an open forum to debunk them. People have a right to know about the inner workings of companies, and it's on them to keep their reputation positive by treating their staff well, and certainly not trying to muzzle them.



Callum is a film school graduate who is now making a name for himself as a journalist and content writer. His vices include flat whites and 90s hip-hop. Follow him @CallumAtSMF


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Chipotle Try and Fail to Fire an Employee for Tweeting Negatively About Working There Reviewed by Callum Davies on Friday, March 18, 2016 Rating: 5

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