Twins from Trenton, Ga., were fired from their Huddle House jobs earlier this week after they complained on Facebook about their boss.
Joshua and Kasey Griffith lost their jobs after they called their manager lazy because she wouldn't give them time off after the death of their mother, according to Kasey Griffith's Facebook account.
Huddle House field marketing manager Jeremy Lee said he was unsure exactly why the two were fired from the corporate-owned store. But the Huddle House human resources department was looking into the situation.
"We know as a fact that they were allowed time off," he said. "There was definitely sympathy out there for that situation."
The two lost their mother last Friday. According to Kasey Griffith's Facebook page, Joshua Griffith was fired from his job Sunday after posting an angry message on Facebook about his boss.
The store's staff declined to comment on the firings, and the Times Free Press was unable to reach the Griffiths for comment. Lee said Huddle House does not have a specific policy about what restaurant employees may post on Facebook and other social media sites.
Georgia is an "at-will" employment state, meaning that employees work at the will of the employer and can be fired for any reason except for those prohibited by federal law such as race, gender, religion or sexual orientation.
The Griffiths' problem has become increasingly common among social media users struggling to find the line between private and public communication. Employers increasingly are relying on social media sites like Facebook to screen potential job candidates.
"Facebook isn't a party, where it sometimes stays at the party," said David Moon, president of the Social Media Alliance of Chattanooga. "Regardless of how you lock down your social media account, it's out there."
Moon likened the backlash against employers who check up on employees' social media accounts to the uproar caused when workers realized employers could read their office emails.
"It's always been a problem," he said. "People think that's an invasion of privacy, but you've got to look at it from 30,000 feet. It's not, really. It's good business practice."
The best way to avoid problems down the road is for users simply not to post anything they wouldn't want to be discovered later. Even with the strictest privacy settings, once a user makes a post the information is out of their hands and out there on the Internet.
"The best advice is just don't do it," Moon said. "I've had four-letter words in my conversations from time to time, but that's not how I want to put myself out there as a professional."