To the feisty lady on the bike… you’re fired!

Flipped: Briskman’s Twitter followers have jumped from 24 to 17,000 since her protest. © Getty

Should companies be allowed to dismiss you for your social media persona? Juli Briskman lost her job after using a photo of her gesturing rudely at Trump’s motorcade as her Twitter profile.

“He was passing by and my blood just started to boil. I’m thinking, DACA recipients are getting kicked out … Only one third of Puerto Rico has power. I’m thinking, he’s at the damn golf course again.”

Juli Briskman was cycling in Virginia when Donald Trump’s motorcade of armoured cars passed by. As a “gut reaction”, she gave the convoy the middle finger. A photographer snapped Briskman’s picture and the image quickly spread around the world.

Briksman then made the photo her profile picture on Twitter.

Aware of the growing media storm, she decided to come clean to her employers. Her bosses then called her into a meeting and gave her the dreaded words: “We’re separating from you”.

Facebook has around two billion monthly users, and Twitter around 330 million. It has never been easier to discover what someone thinks about politics, society, cats and football.

This has resulted in a string of cases whereby companies fire employees for things they have written on their social media.

A professor at the University of Tampa was sacked for tweeting that Hurricane Harvey was “karma” for Texans who had voted for Donald Trump.

Should companies care about what you put on social media?

Nowhere to hide

“Yes we should”, say many bosses. Employees represent their companies. Writing for CBS News, Suzanne Lucas says that “the more restrictions government places on firing people, the more hesitant companies are to hire.” Dodgy posts indicate poor judgment, which is a good reason not to employ somebody.

“This is sinister”, reply others. A person’s political views have nothing to do with how good they are at their job. There needs to be separation between work and personal lives. Almost everyone has something embarrassing on their Facebook or Twitter accounts. You cannot fire them all.

You Decide

  1. Should companies be allowed to fire you for what you post on social media?


  1. Write a set of guidelines for what young people should and should not post on social media.

Some People Say...

“Control is what gives you privacy.”

Michael Douglas

What do you think?

Q & A

What do we know?
Juli Briskman, the cyclist who was photographed giving Donald Trump's motorcade the middle finger, was fired from her job for making the viral photograph her profile picture on social media.
What do we not know?
Soon almost everyone in the world will have a rich social media history. So we do not know whether this trend will increase, decrease or stop completely.

Word Watch

A policy that allowed those who had illegally entered the USA as children, to be deferred from deportation and to be given work permits. Trump scrapped the policy in September.
Golf course
Trump has visited golf clubs 73 times since becoming president, playing golf at least 35 times.
Trump’s motorcade frequently involves up to 50 vehicles and costs over $3,000 per minute.
Texans who had voted for Donald Trump
Texas voted for Trump by 52.6% to 43.4% for Hillary Clinton. Harris County voted for Clinton like most big urban areas.

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