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West Virginia secretary fired after bad restaurant review

Technology has revolutionized the way that our world runs. Businesses have had to adapt to online customers, data is accessible from anywhere and social media websites have taken "word of mouth" to a global level. It is no surprise that employers created Internet-use policies, but how far can they go in restricting employees?

A secretary in West Virginia said that her boss more than crossed the line between appropriate boundaries and illegal actions after she was terminated for posting about a bad restaurant experience on her personal Facebook profile.

While the first reaction may be to assume that she worked in the restaurant industry, that would be completely inaccurate. The secretary worked for a West Virginia sheriff who happened to be friends with the restaurateur that owned the eatery where the secretary had the bad experience. 

What was on the Facebook posting that was so terrible? She said that while on the premises, someone stole her cellphone. Frustrated about the way the situation played out, she made the recommendation online that others avoid going there. 

The Monday after she made the posting, she was told her position had been terminated. When she contacted the human resources department she was told that there was only a suspension in place. After serving the suspension, she was again told that she was terminated, this time for "job abandonment." The secretary has now filed a wrongful termination lawsuit against her former employer.

How do you know if your employment rights have been violated? There is one really easy way for employees in West Virginia to determine whether they may have an employment claim. Consulting with an attorney who handles these claims on a daily basis is the quickest route to an answer. 

Source: Insurance Journal, "West Virginia Woman Sues Sheriff Over Alleged Facebook Firing," June 6, 2013

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