Public Health Employee Controversy?

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By an edhat reader

The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department tweeted this morning that an employee is being investigated for comments made on social media. 

"It has come to our attention that an employee of the County may have engaged in social media conversations that do not reflect the core values of the Public Health Department or the County organization. We stand for inclusion and respect for our diverse community members and staff. This matter is being investigated," the tweets read.

What is this about? Is there any more information?

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a-1591046611 Jun 01, 2020 02:23 PM
Public Health Employee Controversy?

Clearly as a warning to any other "chatty kathys" who feel they want to weigh in where prudence and better judgement would give restraint.

PitMix Jun 01, 2020 02:55 PM
Public Health Employee Controversy?

Government agencies are all over social media these days. Police and Fire have their own twitter accounts. County government does Facebook posts. Those are just 2 that come to mind.

RHS Jun 01, 2020 04:26 PM
Public Health Employee Controversy?

Pitmix: The question is not whether government agencies have such accounts but WHY do they have such accounts. This sort of pandering to the need for instant information seriously hinders judgment and reflection. Something like this should be the product of sober action and full information.

shorebird Jun 01, 2020 11:54 AM
Public Health Employee Controversy?

Judging by the language used in this announcement I’m betting that the county health employee has been posting racist comments.

a-1591045397 Jun 01, 2020 02:03 PM
Public Health Employee Controversy?

Here are some examples when it is usually legal to fire employees over their social media posts:

When their behavior clearly crosses a stated employer policy or other obvious line, such as being threatening or harassing toward other employees.
When the behavior is clearly violating the social media policy, or when the employee is on social media for personal use while on the clock. (This likely wouldn’t be something that would result in termination for a first offense, but it could escalate.)
Behaving in a way that tarnishes the employer’s reputation, either by association or simply from the employee’s conduct. (Note: There are exceptions to this, which we discuss below.)
Divulging confidential information.
Posting things that prove the employee has lied to the organization, such as taking medical or disability-related leave but then showing on social media that the reason for the leave was not valid.

oceandrew Jun 01, 2020 02:18 PM
Public Health Employee Controversy?

12:35 PM... Say what you want when you want but be prepared for the consequences (c'mon, you shoulda learned that in jr. high). 1st Amend. doesn't protect against such consequences nor does it guarantee employment when what you say is disgustingly reprehensible to your employer.

RHS Jun 01, 2020 04:09 PM
Public Health Employee Controversy?

The First Amendment protects the people from government action. Last I heard, the County of Santa Barbara was a governmental agency. The tension here is whether such an agent of the government can act as a private business might do and censor one of its employees for that employsees' expressions outside of the work environment. We need a lot more information on what this is about. Of course most people seem happy to speculate that the issue is one they favor or disfavor. Please wait and hear this out.

Lina24 Jun 02, 2020 10:37 AM
Public Health Employee Controversy?

@RHS, Government employees are held to higher standards when hired. We have to follow a code of Ethics that applies to our private lives, and know that if we violate those ethics, we can be reprimanded, fired, and/or possibly fined and imprisoned, even whether or not those actions are acceptable for non government employees. Examples include violating the Hatch Act, marijuana use, discrimination or discriminatory comments, inciting violence, etc..

a-1591121805 Jun 02, 2020 11:16 AM
Public Health Employee Controversy?

lina24--what you say about government employees is simply not the law. The private lives of any employee are not the bosses' business in general. It is only relevant if what the person does in their private life is illegal or in specific violation of a written contractual obligation. Can you imagine a member of the SBSO being fired because she is also a commentator about BLM?

PitMix Jun 01, 2020 01:04 PM
Public Health Employee Controversy?

A private firm fired the Central Park woman for her racist behavior towards the bird watcher. Do public employees have more protections than private citizens for their private behavior?

a-1591066738 Jun 01, 2020 07:58 PM
Public Health Employee Controversy?

The appearance of an impropriety *is* an impropriety. (Except for Trump, who is apparently exempt.)

a-1591106717 Jun 02, 2020 07:05 AM
Public Health Employee Controversy?

1 - you don't even know what the tweet said.
2 - who said the employee would be fired?
3 - agree with ALEXBLUE - read the 1st Amendment before you present a legal argument

bad427 Jun 02, 2020 09:39 AM
Public Health Employee Controversy?

goodness!! the peoples republic of santa barbara county says somebody did a nono ,they will probably send the offender(forget the 1st ammendent) to syberia.

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