Primary Materials Analysis & So What


Applebee's Waitress Fired for Posting Customer Comment Online

Employer surveillance has evolved and became a bigger and more commonly known issue over the years. Social media has played and still plays a big part in employer surveillance. A recent example of employer surveillance surfaced social media sites when a St. Louis Applebee’s waitress posted a picture of a note that a customer left for her co-worker. The note read “I give God 10%, why do you get 18?” in reference to the customer’s gratuity charges. The waitress was wrong in several ways, but mainly because she violated Applebee’s social media policy which states “Employees must honor the privacy rights of Applebee's and its employees by seeking permission (approval from the Vice President of Operations) before writing about or displaying internal Applebee’s happenings that might be considered to be a breach of privacy and confidentiality.” The policy does not specifically refer to receipts, but does refer to photographs, video, and audio of employees, customers, suppliers, agents, or competitors. The waitress clearly violated the policy because she posted a photo of a customer’s receipt and did not have the appropriate permission to post the photo onto her Facebook page. Only days after the photo was posted onto Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo, Redditt, and several other social networking sites, it went viral. The patron became aware of the viral story, and immediately called and reported the issue to the manager of the Applebee’s restaurant. The manager then went to his Facebook account (on which he befriends all employees) to view this controversial picture and story. The manager took proper actions and later terminated the waitress for her violation of Applebee’s social media policy, which was the one and only consequence that would be put into action if the social media policy was violated. The picture that was posted was the proof and also the most important factor of this entire issue. This source is a perfect example of how employers use social networking sites to their advantage in supervising the actions and behavior of their employees via social media, and in the firing and hiring processes.

So What

My research is significant and relevant to several audiences. However, the audience that will benefit from this research the most is employees who engage in social media activities, typically young adults and teenage workers. Many young citizens of today’s society are naive about what goes on around them. I feel that my research is important and new to this audience because many employees are unaware of employer surveillance and this is an issue that needs to be known and addressed. When off the job, young employees post various personal, inappropriate, and work-related things on social media sites and think nothing of it. However, many employers have begun viewing the profiles of their employees and making major decisions from their findings. My studies will focus on ways that employers use social media to monitor on-the-job and off-the-job behavior of their employees. This research will also allot clueless employees the opportunity to realize how they are being monitored by employers and give them advice and helpful tips about appropriate and inappropriate behavior when involved in social media. I did not just report information from my findings, but I am also added a claim to the existing research. My claim was that there has been a hike in employers performing surveillance acts on employees’ social networking sites. In some cases employers is invading the privacy of their unaware employees, and in other cases, employees are violating the privacy policies of their jobs. To support my argument, I used my primary materials because they are both great real-life examples of employers performing surveillance acts on the social networking profiles and accounts of their employees, and how employers use this information to their advantage.

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