Man fired because of a tweet is yet another warning for us all

If you need another reminder that venting about your boss or workplace on social media is not a great idea, this guy, who was fired because of a tweet, is an example for you.

Twenty-seven-year-old Hussein Mehaidli, reportedly claims he was fired after complaining about his company’s Christmas gift on Twitter. The gift was a $6 bottle of hot sauce.

“I felt really disrespected”

Mehaidli worked as a general manager for construction wholesaler, Fastenal, for six years. He told CTV that the company used to give employees boxes of “junk food” for the holidays, which they appreciated. But this year he got a bottle of hickory-flavoured “Get Sauced” barbecue sauce, which retails on Amazon for $5.99, and a wooden barbecue scraper.

Mehaidli was disappointed with the gift. He told CTV, “I work really hard. We get pushed really hard to reach our sales goals. I felt I gave this company so much and I felt really disrespected when I was given barbecue sauce as a holiday gift.” So, he did what seemed like a good idea at the time: he tweeted about it.

The tweet said:

“What kind of multi billion dollar company gifts it’s Canadian employees barbecue sauce as a holiday gift? Yet the USA employees stuff their face with an actual holiday gift box!”

And he tagged the company’s Canadian and American accounts.

He also referred to a letter from the company’s CEO that came with the barbecue sauce, encouraging employees to “share something from the holiday gift box.”

He apparently said, “SHARE WHAT ?? !! MY BARBECUE SAUCE ?? To every Canadian Fastenal employee I am sorry we all had to go through this.”

Mehaidli lost his job

Unfortunately, the company figured out who the tweet came from – because Mehaidli had previously posted a picture of himself in his workplace on the same anonymous account – and though it was deleted, it was too late.

Mehaidli was fired 10 days after he sent the tweet, for “violation of standards of conduct policy – acceptable conduct section.” He’s quoted as saying that it was a bad time to be fired, what with bills and all.

There’s some question in the CTV article over whether the firing was legal, as Mehaidli was reportedly not offered any severance pay. And a lawyer was quoted as saying he could possibly make a wrongful dismissal case.

But please note that all of this could have been avoided if he had simply thought twice about naming and shaming the company in the first place. Regardless of what you think of the holiday gift and whether you think Mehaidli was right or wrong to send the tweet or whether the company was right or wrong to fire him, Mehaidli would probably still have a job if he had not made this decision. And it probably wasn’t worth it.

We all do stupid things on social media

The reality is that we all do dumb things on social media. I have made some serious mistakes, including saying something mean about an extended family member who I forgot I was Facebook friends with. So, I get it, is what I’m saying. I actually get how someone could be dumb enough to forget that they posted a picture of themselves from an anonymous account and then talk smack about their employer on that account. Because I have been similarly dumb.

But, for what it’s worth, it’s important to remember that social media is public. Even if you think your privacy settings on some platforms will keep you safe, you never know who’s looking and who among your connections knows someone you know. Always think very carefully about what you’re about to post and ask yourself if there is any risk in posting it – and if that risk is worth it.

You might not make the best decision every time (you might forget that you posted a pic of yourself in your workplace from that anonymous account and then proceed to talk smack about your employer). But let’s all remember this cautionary tale, and hopefully learn from it.

(please note that the company, Get Sauced, had nothing to do with Mehaidli’s firing. So don’t go and blame them, as some people have done.)