“You are a son of *****… Your mother was a female pig!” a female realtor typed in a Wechat group, directed at a male group member.
“Your wife is a ***** who has slept around… You deserve no better woman as you are such an ***hole,” she attacked another who barely knew her.
According to a previous Chinese News report, this female realtor hurled insults at other group members on Wechat after she was alleged by other group members for fabricating facts to support her arguments over a political controversy.
In fact, her degrading comments are just the tip of the iceberg in the internet world, as the technology – including video cameras and Wechat rooms— have allowed disrespectful behavior to spread through our society.
Her comments immediately shocked the entire group. They could hardly believe that these comments were from a woman who holds a professional job and whose social skills play a large role in the success of her career. In protest, some quickly left the chat room, whereas those being attacked demanded an immediate apology from her.
But instead of expressing regrets, she continued with her onslaught, until a group member Googled her contact information and threatened to approach her employer.
This woman who identifies herself in Wechat group as a realtor with a prominent real estate company might have assumed that on her own time, she was entitled to make any comments she wanted – regardless of how derogatory or disrespectful they were. And she may have never realized that she faced risks of being reported to her employer, and worse – being expelled from the company.
While it has long been expected that employees’ behavior outside of the office are not grounds for termination, the rise of social media has dramatically changed the game. Your derogatory verbal slurs and comments, even after being deleted, can still become part of your digital footprint and smear your legacy. Despite the fact that her comments were made off the clock, they could be quickly exposed to the public, becoming as much a problem for companies’ public-relations teams as it is for their legal teams.
Just a week ago, a Hydro One employee lost his job after a video showing two men making sexual slurs to a CityNews reporter went viral. According to media reports, a man interrupted a TV reporter doing a live hit at a Toronto FC game and made extremely obscene comments to the camera.
When confronted by the reporter, the man made offered no regret, instead continued to make disrespectful and degrading comments.
在事发后，该名男子立即被网络侦探确认身份，被爆其是曾跻身今年阳光名单(年薪过10万)的Hydro One工程师Shawn Simoes。面对公众以及包括韦恩省长在内的数名政客的强烈反应，Hydro One被迫解雇Simoes。
The man was quickly identified by Internet sleuths as Shawn Simoes, a Hydro One Engineer who made it onto the Sunshine List (with salary over $100,000) this year. Facing a huge wave of backlash from the public and several politicians including Kathleen Wynne, Hydro One was forced to fire Simoes.
Hydro One发言人Daffyd Roderick在一份声明中称：“Hydro One已经采取措施解雇违反公司行为准则的员工，尊重他人是本公司的基本行为准则和价值观，我们致力于打造一个对任何形式的歧视或骚扰都是零容忍的工作环境。”
“Hydro One is taking steps to terminate the employee for violating our Code of Conduct,” Hydro One spokesman Daffyd Roderick said in a statement. “Respect for all people is ingrained in the code and our values. We are committed to a work environment where discrimination or harassment of any type is met with zero tolerance.”
The disrespectful comments from the female realtor might also be met with zero tolerance from her employer. One member eventually decided to contact her employer. The company has promised to begin an investigation into the matter.
In the past, employees could be punished for behavior outside the office only if it directly hurt an employment relationship or impacted their employer in some way, according to Stuart Rudner, a partner at the employment law firm Rudner MacDonald LLP.
“If it’s possible to identify where they work, it can impact the employer and therefore lead to discipline,” Mr. Rudner said.
Technology is a double-edged sword. While it has opened a flood gate of rude remarks and insulting slurs, it has also put bad behavior constantly under public scrutiny. Assumption of anonymity doesn’t’t exist in today’s social media world.
Note: The story was published in Chinese News in May, 2015.
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