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Czech News in English » Business » Czechs start losing jobs due to Facebook

Czechs start losing jobs due to Facebook

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Facebook has deprived first Czechs of their jobs. For example Tomáš Zmuda used to work for a big transport company before he disclosed on his virtual profile how much he generated in sales in a single day. And he is not the only one to lose a job owing to Facebook.

“Tomáš is happy that he set a new sales record today, at CZK 142,000,” the young cashier told his friends on Facebook. After less than two weeks, his superiors told him he has been fired and forced him to sign a notice.

The media have come up with many examples of people in other countries who lost their jobs owing to Facebook. They paid mostly for criticising their superordinates or employers. Famous is the story of thirteen Virgin Airlines employees who slandered passengers on social networking sites. A British woman, who pretended illness and did not forget to tell her “friends” on Facebook, lost her job as well.

But such cases are something new in the Czech Republic. “As far as I know, nobody has been fired here owing to Facebook,” said the media expert Jan Potůček. “I am not aware of anybody being fired,” the internet publicist Daniel Dočekal said. 

Lawyer: He shouldn’t have signed
Tomáš is sure that he was given notice owing to his message on Facebook, that was the reason that they gave him. Asked whether he would return to the company, he says resolutely: “Definitely not.” And now he is searching for a job, or at least a summer job, using all means possible.

“He made a mistake by signing the notice,” said lawyer Filip Svoboda, who deals with labour law. There are professions where breach of secrecy and disclosing sales could help competitors significantly, but the young man would probably succeed in a possible court dispute over the notice invalidity, he added. “Courts are favourable to employees in such cases,” Svoboda said.

Tomáš Zmuda worked in the company for two years. He spoiled his clear record only in February of this year, when his employer found out that he is a contributor to an expert internet forum focused on bus transport. At that time, Tomáš was given an oral warning only. “After that, I wrote an email where I apologized, and had all my contributions to the forum erased,” Zmuda said. The second time, he was not that lucky.

“They wanted to get rid of me”
Sometimes Facebook can serve as a good excuse for dismissing an idle employee. This is the case of a driver in another big transport company. In his employer’s eyes, he was guilty of posting an announcement on Facebook reading that he will drive the company’s best bus for the last time. A bus that the firm has decided to sell. “I wrote there something totally neutral, and then they terminated my contract in the probation period,” said Tomáš, who now works as a driver for a different company, so he did not wish to disclose his full name. “But it was rather because they needed to get rid of me because there was no work,” he added.

Such cases do not have to be anything rare in future. “Legal problems connected with the internet will be on the rise also in our country,” lawyer Filip Svoboda said. “The sticking point is when you add your superordinate among your ‘friends’. Then they can supervise you, even though it works the other way round, too,” he added. Jan Potůček has a piece of advice for those who still include their colleagues and superiors among “friends”: “You should definitely not write there rashly that you don’t feel like going to work or that you did not go to school.”

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