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Hertz Not Responsible for Damages Caused by Employee's Facebook Comments

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Customer service cannot be compromised, since without customers there is no business. A few fundamental points that go hand-in-hand with customer service include keeping the customers' needs in mind, building a friendly repertoire, and always emphasising politeness. The Hertz Corporation, a rental car company better known simply as Hertz, has suffered a slight on this front thanks to a rude employee. Shawn Akina, former lot manager of Hertz Maui Airport  insulted a customer on Facebook in what basically amounts to cyber bullying. 

On 27 Feb. 2012, Maurice Howard, an accountant, rented a luxury car from Hertz Maui. Akina called 27-year-old Howard out on Facebook for coming off "bougie" and questioned his financial status. Worse than that, he allegedly made the post from a Hertz computer. Several other Hertz employees, friends of Akina's on Facebook, contributed to the post. Having his coworkers' attention likely encouraged Akina's further bashing, but brought with it unwanted scrutiny. Someone shared the conversation with Howard, as is bound to happen with social media being a public forum, prompting a lawsuit against the company and six named employees.

Civil Beat - We have blanked out some of the more unsavoury terminology

Upon seeing the post, Howard came in to Hertz to complain. He was met with Rose Fernandez, Akina's supervisor, who had no prior knowledge of the post. According to Fernandez, the post was a violation of Hertz's corporate policy. These two details (Fernandez's ignorance and citing Hertz's policy) saved the company from a costly court fee. 

Heedless of the magnitude of his words, Akina, along with several other employees, were eventually terminated or resigned

Hertz Coupon Code
Initially, Howard sued Hertz on the grounds that he suffered post-traumatic stress disorder after remarks on his "race, sexual orientation, financial state and condition" were made by Hertz employees. Additionally, as if PTSD weren't enough, Howard claims that he was damaged financially, lost customers, and had to sell his business. Quite a wallop for one man to take.

Several claims were dropped early on in the case, a claim against Facebook for negligence is just one example. Howard did hold strong to claims against negligent supervision and hiring. In this, Howard was represented by attorney Burton Gould who fought to show that Hertz owed a duty of care for the damages. Here, the court ruled in favor of Hertz, stating that the company could not have known that Akira would act out on social media. A double whammy, the court ruled against the negligent training claim stating that Hertz was not responsible for covering any possible contingent in their training. 

According to the lawsuit, Howard's civil rights were violated; however, the defendant did not prove that Hertz breached its duty of care. In March 2016, the federal court in Hawaii ruled in favor of Hertz

Hertz v. Howard is the tip of an iceberg representing a plethora of new obstacles for employers and companies. It's now a mainstay for companies to have policies in regards to social media and an online presence as it relates to the company.



Jacqui Litvan, wielding a bachelor's degree in English, strives to create a world of fantasy amidst the ever-changing landscape of military life. Attempting to become a writer, she fuels herself with coffee (working as a barista) and music (spending free time as a raver). Follow her @Songbird_Jacqui


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Hertz Not Responsible for Damages Caused by Employee's Facebook Comments Reviewed by Jacqueline Litvan on Wednesday, May 04, 2016 Rating: 5

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