In 1968 Andy Warhol famously stated, “In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes.” Acknowledging oh-so-true this really is, when you claim your own 15 minutes, will your shining moment cost you your job? A Long Island teacher found out the hard way.
The episode aired in early June and as per the piece, a little more than two weeks later Bellmore-Merrick Central School District administrators and union representatives informed him he would get fired if he didn’t resign.The middle school health teacher and football, track and wrestling coach tells the newspaper, “I was coerced into resigning.”
He adds, “This is more than a job; this is my life. I’m devastated.”
Serie’s attorney points out in the piece that the school’s policy indicates a teacher’s personal life is not grounds for discipline as long as it doesn’t impact his or her ability to teach. In fact, the teacher plans to sue the district if he’s not reinstated.
Well, more than 100 parents and students gathered last night before a school board meeting in North Merrick to show their support for Serie. Although people addressed the board by questioning his dismissal, board members did not respond. They declined to comment when the newspaper inquired, as did the superintendent.
So, what’s the lesson learned here? Media rock stars, this can apply to you, too. We’re certainly not attorneys given the fact he was in a union and the superintendent alluded to a “personnel matter,” but the point is this: If your employer has a social media policy and other guidelines, they may have policies around behavior outside of work.
This can fall into a shade of gray but you may want to review the policies anyway. For instance, regarding social media some companies indicate employees must include a disclaimer indicating opinions are their own.
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