Of course she does.
What does the Complaint say? And what can
employers take away from it?
In her Complaint (copy here),
the (former) school-bus driver claims that, after her shift ended, she
privately messaged a student -- someone who never rode her bus -- on Facebook.
This student was supposedly giving her son a hard time at school. A dialogue ensued and the
driver ultimately Facebook messaged the bully:
YOU LITTLE BITCH, what are you going to do
when Stephen dumps your ass after you have the baby like he did his other
The school learned of this online exchange, and the
driver was fired.
The driver subsequently sued in federal court claiming
that her termination for "off-the-clock" Facebook messaging a student
who didn't ride her bus violated her freedom-of-speech
rights under the First Amendment, equal
protection and due process rights under the Fourteenth Amendment, as well
as similar rights under the State Constitution of the Commonwealth of Kentucky.
What HR should take away from this case?
I'm no Constitutional lawyer. I leave that to the other
brainiacs at my law firm. Instead, let's pretend for a second that the
school-bus driver worked in the private sector. Could she get away with her
actions if (1) the messages happened off-the-clock; and (2) the employer had no
This article was originally published on Eric B. Meyer's blog, The Employer
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