Public Health Employee Controversy?

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?


Written by Anonymous

What do you think?


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  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. @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..

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