Saturday, 1 November 2008

Virgin Atlantic Sacks Staff for Facebook Comments

There was news today that 13 Virgin Atlantic flight attendants have been dismissed following comments left on Facebook in which they described passengers as "chavs" and questioned the Virgin Atlantic's safety standards.

A statement from Virgin Atlantic claimed that the staff dismissed had a "totally inappropriate behaviour that brought disrepute to the overall company".

The comments were apparently made by staff based at Gatwick airport (which rules out the Boston and New York routes that I would potentially use more than once) and suggested that there may have been cockroaches in certain planes and that there were unreliable jet engines that had to be changed on average once every quarter.

The messages and the Facebook group these Virgin Atlantic staff members had formed have now been removed after what is described as "a thorough investigation".

Although some say that Facebook is good for businesses and firms by allowing employees to create informal network for the ultimate benefit of the company, the last few weeks have seen a number of corporate gaffes on Facebook which show that Social Networking is indeed a double-edged sword.

Recently, an Australian employee of some company I can't remember faked a sick day, but then made the error of updating his Facebook Profile with details of his previous night out and changed his status to read:
"Kyle Doyle is not going to work, fuck it I'm still trashed. SICKIE WOO!"

When questioned about his illness, Mr. Doyle reminded his managers that he did not need to provide proof from a Doctor as he could self-certificate for the 1 day he was ill. His managers replied that he can only self-certificate for genuine medical reasons and produced the evidence in the form of a screen-grab of his Facebook Profile. Game Over!

The question has to be asked as to the reasons the people involved in both of these cases didn't take care to limit who would be able to view the comments they have made. Admittedly it is very difficult to keep track of exactly what parts of a persons' profile is viewable to the outside world, but the lessons to be learnt is do not write anything that you would not want certain people to see (like your company owners or managers). Also, it might not be a good idea to add your bosses to your friends list unless they actually are your friend!

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