Ottawa Grocery Chain Fires Employees over Facebook Posting

The Ottawa Sun has the details on the firings.


  1. Miss
    I used to work for farm bot for approximately three years, then quit and was rehired a couple of months ago. My experiences were as such: my first years there I was intimidated, yelled at, screamed at, verbally attacked and belittled in from of other employees simply because the supervisor at the time did not like me. She forced me to sit on a garbage when we would cash out- everyone was uncomfortable, and I would often go home in tears. I complained and no change was made, until a couple of other employees came forward and three years later she was only transfered. I also developed an alergy and complained about pain- it would bleed- and was not able to get any support or transfer to other departments. Basically they convinced me it was nothing… I didn’t know my rights, said nothing and quit. I came back this year and was FORCED to go outside in freezing rain and cold temperatures to push around carts. When I said no to unsafe work, telling them I was sick, and not properly trainted to do this the supervisor said “it’s in your contract, so go and do it”. Only after I caused a scene and said “eithre you fire me or I don’t do it” did they allow me to actually refuse this work. I also hear managers yell and screem to employees on a daily basis, and I feel that practice to be highly unethical.

  2. Cashier
    I quit voluntarily but when I did so, my exit was blocked by a manager who aggressively tore copies of my legal records out of my hands. I wished to leave without incident and to stay out of this matter, but the immaturity of the company gleamed through.
    This place was not such a horrible place to work, for myself; however, I had witnessed many instances where young workers’ rights were violated and were intimidated so they would comply – as is being done now, in my opinion.
    Also, a union does not exist with this company. Workers have been scared to try to form a union because of the negative aura set on them by the action. Without a union, the company has an unfair “advantage” in such cases as this.

  3. Supervisor
    I was fired form farm Boy after 11 months of service. Plus i had worked at farmboy almost 3 years ago for 6 months of service. I have only run into one problem and that was missing a shift on a monday when i constantly told them how hard it is for me to work on mondays because that was when i do my community service hours. On Saturday January 13th 2007 I was terminated for “just cause” because i posted on facebook these 2 comments when in context were a joke but farm boy took it out of context. The two comments were;
    1. Worlds worst service supervisor, just goes to prove how messed up farm boy is. Like who in their right mind would promote me. I am the worst employee, I am always late, and I slack off all the time.
    and 2. I know i do nothing and get paid for it. That is the only reason i still work at farm boy.
    The reasons for terminating me were not for participation in the site but merely addmission to lateness, slacking off, and doing nothing. Yet I was the hardest working one there. I did all the work, i showed up to shifts that i was not schedueled for, I worked so hard that 4 months into my employment there Farm Boy decided to promote me from cashier to supervisor. This is my first time in 3 years that i have been unemployed and i am already finding it hard to get a new job just because of this one incident. I don’t feel i did anything wrong, i just made a joke not on farmboy but on myself to other farm boy employees who i thought would have a laugh at it. Is that really wrong.

  4. Cashier
    I worked at Farm Boy for 11 months as well and during that time I was never praised or rewarded for my work. I was never paid overtime, I never recieved a raise or a promotion despite being a very hard worker. Although Farm Boy was not a terrible job, the actions (such as swearing, ridicule, and other such vulgarities) of various managers caused me to be a little bit uneasy about my job. I was not treated particularly unfairly, however I was witness to some unsafe practices (I was once put in the Kitchen preparation area [without any training] without a hairnet, gloves, or a hat). I was terminated for public defamatory comments made which included indirectly calling Farm Boy a “Hell-hole”, as well as refering to how annoying some customers could be (in events such as when they give me 56 cents in pennies). Had Farm Boy been unionised, I highly doubt I would have been dismissed for such a minor infringement on a semi-private website. Instead, the managers in question would have been dismissed, because what they do (and did) is far worse than anything I ever said and did.

  5. exfarmboy
    I worked for farmboy for close to about 3 years with a 2 month off period one summer. I wasnt the perfect employee, i had the occasional late or obligated missed shitf due to school.

    When i first started working i really enjoyed my job. it was simple i worked outside. some days were rough but management wasnt to hard on me about coming in to cool off on hot days or cold days. When a certain store manager was hired, we’ll call him “Mr. Moustache” things changed. our rights were slowly taken away from us, we would get harrased for saying anythign to fellow employees. some more than others (they play favourite). then they added a security camera to the lunch room. I was pretty outraged by this and contemplated tearing it down but never did anything.

    Although being trained on cash i would occasionally have to work outside. In the summer it gets pretty hot in ottawa. Wearing black pants and a black apron and a safety vest gets pretty hot and insulates alot of heat. One particular day i requested to take the apron off for my safety(since it retains all the heat) as it was ridiculously hot out(in the high 30s). my request was denied, the manager said “You can’t, its part of the uniform”. I was agreeing to wearing the safety vest and they disregarded my safety and made me wear it.

    Another instance i witnessed them force an employee to pick up human feces from the sales floor.

    Mr moustache in one case made a fellow co-worker cry for the reason that a friend offered to let her go early and he’d take his break after. this could have been solved in other ways than yelling.

    There is much more to say. this is just a snippit of my experience with farmboy. I quit not too long ago and now have a much more enjoyable job. I informed my new employer about this incident and she was shocked. All in all farmboy has slid down the hill in my books. It used to be a quality workplace and store. They dont aim to keep workers happy. In my opinion a happy worker produces a better store.

  6. cashier
    “in one case made a fellow co-worker cry for the reason that a friend offered to let her go early and he’d take his break after.”

    … it must also be said that this particular manager had been dogging on these particular employees for months. Also, the yelling took place on the floor, across the span of 4 or 5 cash lanes and I believe it was also on a weekend. An effective manager would have removed the employees from the setting, perhaps taken them to an office or on the side, and disciplined (although the “offence” was VERY minor – something like talking?).

    … concerning managers taking employees into the office: this is not regulated. One manager can be alone with an employee without any kind of supervision – even if the manager is clearly angry and uninformed about the situation to be dealt with. One time in my 5+ years with the company, a manager took me into the office (the store manager gave her permission, even though she was clearly aggressively perterbed), proceeded to call me a liar – upon which point, I left the room and put in my resignation. My offence? I had told a couple that they could not take the carts out into the mall (mall policy) and offered carryout services to them.

    This company has the mask of a company that treats its employees and customers as family. Managerial staff frequently use intimidation tactics on employees who are easily mouldable. It is not uncommon for a manager to talk poorly of another employee – or more frequently, a customer – infront of a lower-ranked employee.

  7. Freezer and Punch Clock
    Farm Boy management would object to staff wearing their own jackets in the cooler or freezer, or while doing receiving duties during cold winters, because the jacket is not part of the uniform.

    Farm Boy also did not let employees leave the store until a manager would come to unlock the doors at closing. This forced employees to wait up to half an hour, for which employees would not be paid, and this would be after the end of the scheduled shift. Management informed employees that they could not remain on the clock for this time and could be reprimanded for trying to do so.

    Elements of labour law, such as the requirement to provide breaks, were often disregarded, and Farm Boy would then take deductions for unpaid break times that were never taken (and refuses to compensate in cases when this is done).

  8. supervisor
    I can vouche that I have been specifically told by management NOT to give breaks during busy times, like Easter. Even if all of the cash lanes were up and manned, any person off cash was required to bag instead of taking their break. I told them that was against labour law and they blatantly said they don’t care and not to ask any questions. I ran the breaks, anyway, but often did not have a chance to take one for myself.

  9. Produce
    I worked at Farm Boy about 2 years ago. I did not realize at the time, but Farm Boy was a workplace that was unsafe, discriminatory, and a place for people in place of power to abuse their powers. I worked in Produce and since I was only a student, 15 at the time, the only transportation I had to work was by foot, bike, or on some ocations a lift to work from my parents. One Spring day I had to bike to work, it was drizilling out, my shoulders were abit damp and so was my smock. Farm Boy made me buy a whole new uniform and it wasn’t cheap. I don;t understand that. When it was time for the produce to come down at night sometimes there would only be 2 of us, with a manager standing behind us talking to other emplyees from other departments telling us to work faster, lift more. I would usually get out of there at 10:30 or 11 pm, and had to walk home. One night I was attacked walking down 10th line my wallet stolen, beaten up and with a ripped shirt. The next day I told my manager and again I had to buy a new uniform. Now I know you may think I am just a whinny teen who doesn’t know what real work is. Well I now posses a job where I work 10 hour days outside in all weather, and I enjoy this much more then working a 4 hour shift a Farm Boy. They need to look into this. Once I was even forced to crawl down a compactor to retrieve a garbage can that had fallen down there. VERY UNSAFE.

  10. Avoid the farm
    I know a couple of you (those who are students in the area).. but i’ll stay anon..

    All i can say is keep up with school or you won’t see better.

    Better yet, go into law and be the next M. Geist and fight back at what you have all experienced.

    Good luck.
    oh, less personal detail on “facebook” may have led to them not knowing who you were and firing some of you.

    Fired for blogging.. hmmm Don’t some of you students have access to free legal at the Uni (even legal aid due to your low student incomes)? Check into it. I think i would fight back.

  11. [ link ]
    [ link ]

    The problem is that nobody wants to put themselves at risk – to annoy the company (who has a lot more money than all of use combined) and risk being sued over some ridiculous loophole, even though I don’t believe that the majority of the individuals involved did not do anything LEGALLY wrong; maybe professionally not a good move – but not legally liable.

  12. Devon Bourgeois says:

    Admin of the ” I got Farmboy\d group\
    I am pursuing legal action in my dismissal, as I was not terminated for slander or anything along those lines I cannot have a counter-suit for such things if I chose to file a suit for my wrongful dismissal. The largest obstacle is find a lawyer to work on retainer for a wrongful dismissal case as the generally awarded some is not hundreds of thousands. I was terminated for an interpretation of my posts that were taken out of context from the website. I was a trusted employee (I worked overnight over the xmas holidays with a staff but no manager, I was trusted with a key to the store and was put in charge.) There was no witnesses or product claimed to be missing or any other evidence for my dismissal. I will be pursuing council.

  13. Matt M
    I cannot believe what a few unhappy employees are trying to do, to a company that employs over 1000 ppl.
    I work for Farm Boy and what these ppl. have posted here is false information. Their site on Facebook just glorifies disrespect, theft and intimidation to employees, managerial staff and bad service to customers. Of course, Farm Boy is not perfect, but if they are looking for perfect they do not live in reality, and they are not forced to work there they do have a free will?…or so I hope.

    A few employees are having a rush to try and destroy a good Canadian company. That’s what seems to be coming across in their postings.

    The articles in the Ottawa Sun and Citizen (the journalist cousulted experts on the subject) indicate that these employees and ex-employees have breached their contracts and are wrong in their position.They also got warnings from Facebook for copyright infringement.

  14. Terrible Working Conditions
    I have been working at Farm Boy for almost a year, and I can tell you that this has to be one of the most poorly managed jobs I have ever worked at. I work as a cashier, and everyone thinks we have the easiet job in the store. They’re wrong. We have to deal with customers who bitch about prices telling us we should know all the prices, have to deal with small children harassing us and being quite annoying and distracting, as well as being forced to go outside in any kind of weather to retrieve carts in a parking lot that is completely unsafe.

    The shifts you get as well as your breaks will depend on the department too. Being a regular cashier, we get all our breaks, with our supervisos having to skip breaks sometimes. When it comes to breaks, cash has it easy. I would have to say that practically every other department is different. Most employees in the other departments would only take their lunch, or not take a break at all because of all the work they would have to do. That is completely illegal, and I don’t know why management won’t change this. Hours are even cut in departments that need the hours, making the break situations even worse.

    If I had to go back to before I applied and I knew all this, I would never have applied. If it were unionized and things would change, I would be alot happier, but since I need the money, I am gonna stay. To students, if they value their study time and having some personal time as well, do not work here. They’ll work you as much as they can. They did that to me, worked 30 hours a week while being in college full time. Long story short, I dropped the year due to very poor grades and I have to redo the final year in the fall, all because of my job at Farm Boy.

  15. “The articles in the Ottawa Sun and Citizen (the journalist consulted experts on the subject) indicate that these employees and ex-employees have breached their contracts and are wrong in their position.They also got warnings from Facebook for copyright infringement.”
    No where in the articles does it say that the employees have breached their contracts. In summary of both articles it is detailed that the situation becomes difficult when the internet is involved at all. You cannot gain access to certain documents and materials on the internet without a username and password which makes them private. Regardless if a password and username can be obtained the information is still private. Farmboy felt they could use the information on this website to justify terminations which is where it becomes unclear if this is allowable or not. No article states the employees were in breach of their contracts.

  16. Farmer Brown says:

    The Contract/kids
    In regards to the contracts farm boy has them sign.

    Why doesn’t farm boy allow them to have a copy? Even when they ask for it? Why do they get a “guide-book” instead? Are they not allowed to read what they sign for their part-time or full time job? Will farmboy give them 3 hours to to sit and review it? Will farm boy allow them to takes notes from it? The answer so far is no.

    Lets be real, most fired are all kids in uni for writting on facebook and for thinking they are allowed to write, and thinking its ok to use their real name online w/o thinking. They were a target. An easy one at that.

    When one of the students doesn’t show up at work the first place i look is facebook!! I get a call saying he/she is sick. I look at facebook and read how he/she is going out having a good time and he/she even includes the pictures! I LAUGH AT IT. They are kids. Farm-boy needs to relax a bit.

    I also want to say putting your real names, addresses, phone numbers, and where you are going to be at, what date, wearing what, is eventually going to lead to disaster when some perv catches up with it all. You kids need to become more aware of what EVERYONE can see and read.

    If anything, learn not to put so much personal info viewable to all.

  17. Matt M
    I’m not stating the articles in the words it was written.

  18. I have to agree with Farmer Brown, people put way too much personal information on Facebook. I am surprised that nobody is worried about putting their personal info online, I’ve seen some with their phone #’s on there.
    Not everyone on Facebook is your friend, and if your privacy settings are not set the right way, alot of people can see information,people who you might not want them to see that information.

  19. Farmer Brown says:

    Privacy Commiss, more awareness please
    After bringing attention to what some of you had on your “facebook” pages, I noticed alot of you removed alot of personal information. It may not seem as open and as fun, and may even seem like a loss. But its something I hope you will remember not to do again. (I already warned one of you about this… now look what happened)

    Having had your jobs taken from you because you were identifiable (having fun, being open, not caring), in a way this taught you young people a life lesson on privacy and why you should protect it.

    I too will miss reading and seeing the pictures of your parties as you call into work and tell me how sick you are and can’t make it in. That sure made my day (at times) and made me laugh out loud.

    When I look at the Canadian Privacy Commissioners web site and think of your situations (which is right in her back yard, almost literally!) I can’t help but think how little is done to make young people aware of privacy and why it matters. There is also a big lack of awareness coming out of the office and directed at young people, Which is too bad.

    Farm boy, in an indirect way, did you a service to drive the privacy issue home with some of you. I’m not sticking up for them, chances are i’ll never step foot into a farm boy again. However, its very possible that farm boy prevented a worse scenario down the road by taking your available online info and showing you what can happen when people have your info, where-abouts, addresses, phone numbers and everything else you carelessly put up on those webpages for all to see and follow.

    I hope you tell your friends, who didn’t follow your foot-steps in removing private info. Carlton themselves can make young people more aware, as can facebook themselves. Unless everyone is waiting for an Ottawa tragedy to occur before they do something.

    It also makes me wonder if farm boy would have saught to have you all identified if your info wasn’t there to begin with.

    As someone not part of your fun, not part of the job loss, in a way I have to thank farm boy in a real round-about way in teaching you this life-lesson on privacy that just, JUST may have prevented something far worse.

    I support you guys/girls!

    Good luck.

  20. mr

    Becky Stachel wrote
    at 3:34pm on November 5th, 2006
    hollller fam boy boy…..hows things in the kitchen? i miss the days of stolen cheese and chicken…..aight..see ya
    Wall-to-Wall – Message

    a Mark Zuckerberg production
    Facebook © 2007

  21. Farm boy is very terrified of being unionized. This is why they are abusing people. This is why they blatently erased the proof out of facebook.

    All of you who were abused should sue. and Matt M is probably the guy who ratted on the rest, and caused this chain of events. We should all thank him, thank you, now thanks to you people are revolting, they are making change- the media is interested.

  22. Farmer Brown
    Farmer Brown is probably management making this discussion irrelevant. You are not a lawyer, we do not require your support or whatever manipulation you are trying to create.

    ” Farm boy, in an indirect way, did you a service to drive the privacy issue home with some of you”

    You do not know what you are talking about, you do not even know who you are talking to, since you were not there at the time people were fired (or perhaps you were? manager…) so really, you cannot say much. You do not know everything about privacy rights, and if you did you would realise that they are complex and that in English Canada we work under Common Law which is determined by case-by-case. Indeed Facebook is semi-private and there are no laws concerning this. Furthermore, any comment written on the board is no proof that it’s that particular purpose as anyone could pretend to be impersonating someone else. These particular instances leave rome for debate which can only come to a statement in a court of law.

    So I say to you, Farmer, I suggest you leave the legal aspect to the lawyers and you stay where you belong.

    No thanks to your concern, and no need for you to educate anyone on the basis of one web site “Canadian Privacy Commissioners web site”.

    I have always had great patience, but quite frankly if you think that Farm Boy can claim right or wrong on every single issue addressed above by others then you are misplaced to preach to anyone about what your views are.

    Again, don’t tell people they got a good life lesson, here is one for you: people have rights in Canada, and people have the right to fight for them. And your subtle yet manipulative speach was a pathetic attempt at trying to shut people up.

  23. i am positive that the only person to have access to erase proof is the actual username and password that posted it in the first place or the admin or officers of the facebook group so who did it and why was it erased and what right are we fighting for and is anyone actually doing anything or just complaining

  24. Farmer Brown says:

    RE: Farmer Brown
    No, I wasn’t there. But I do manage some people who happen to have two jobs and go to school. thier 2nd job is farm boy.

    “You do not know what you are talking about, you do not even know who you are talking to, since you were not there at the time people were fired ”

    Nope, I wasn’t there. But i was there as one of the students were crying about what was happening at farm boy, prior to this incident, on more than one occasion. I was shown what was on those facebook pages. I never noticed the farm boy comments though, aside from the logo. But I did notice everyones personal info available to all and did mention on more than one occasion it would get them all in trouble. No one ever listens to old people ay. We are all… old. know nothing…

    “You do not know everything about privacy rights,”

    Correct, I don’t. But i know when a person puts a little too much for all to see. Don’t recall saying i’m some sort of privacy expert. Do you?

    “So I say to you, Farmer, I suggest you leave the legal aspect to the lawyers and you stay where you belong.”

    I never did give legal advice. You are obviosly and clearly reading a little to far into what i said. Don’t know where you got that, maybe from anger because you put too much info on your sites and paying for it now! But thats ok, lash out on me.

    “and no need for you to educate anyone on the basis of one web site “Canadian Privacy Commissioners web site”.”

    Actually their web site does suck, it reads like a boring biology book. Yes, its not geared to the average 18 yr old kid, sad but true. But sadly that is our Canadian Gov site. And yes, I will continue telling people when they have put too much info online. ok? That ok with you? want to sue me for telling some girl not to put her number and address and location and where she will be friday at 8:30-pm waiting for her friends to pick her up? Some of those pages went a little over, but then again, i’m just plain old. Right? Maybe you yourself should read the Privacy site and wake yourself up a bit.

    “Again, don’t tell people they got a good life lesson, here is one for you: people have rights in Canada, and people have the right to fight for them.”

    They did get a good lesson. A Damn good one that they shouldn’t forget. I too think they should fight, as i said earlier I support them. Not right to try and silence people as what farm boy is doing. But, as i said earlier, some info went over-board on the personal side. You are reading a little to much into what I said.

    But in actuality, I think your angry, mad at the reality of what I had to say and thats normal.

    “And your subtle yet manipulative speach was a pathetic attempt at trying to shut people up.”

    My subtle speech as you call it, brought some awareness to the ones i know and now to some of their friends. If their eyes wern’t open before when I first mentioned it before christmas, they are now. So shut up dumdum.

    Feel free to trash the old one that knows nothing anytime. I can take it. I can also give it back. But you’re taking your anger and frustration out on the wrong person. Its also a bit paranoic to assume anyone who has something critial to say to be “one of them”. But like i said, i can understand that, you are showing classic symptoms of it.

    Wish you all the best…

  25. Ex- Customer Service Rep
    I worked at Farmboy for 6 months, and in the time I was there, I was constantly belittled by the store manager. I was called into his office and told that I was a waste of space and that he was sorry he had hired me. I was refused permission to go home one afternoon after I had broken out in hives, and told to continue stocking shelves. Right before I left the company, I was instructed to train a new employee that later on I found out was making more money that I was.

    The worst part of the whole ordeal was watching our store manager go around and flirt with the young pretty girls on staff. I know some of the comments made on Facebook were harsh, but in reality some of the actions of this particular Farmboy Store Manager were out of line and inexcusable. Unfortunantly for the employees, many of them are afraid to speak out in fear of losing their job or worse.

    Head office needs to take this into consideration that some of the complaints made on the site are ligitmite.

    I originally put up with the job because I needed to make rent money, but than realize that my integrity was worth so much more than a part-time job. I am glad that people are finally speaking out against Farmboy and I wish them all the best of luck.

  26. .
    Irene, I read one of your posts back in November and you accused someone of \”touching\” you. That is pretty serious. What did you do afterwards?

  27. Matt M
    Just a reminder employees were fired for admitting ILLIGAL activity which they took part in. THEY WERE NOT FIRED BECAUSE OF BLOGGING.

  28. Ottawa Citizen article January says:

    Farm Boy workers fired after chat site critiques

    Vito Pilieci
    The Ottawa Citizen

    Thursday, January 18, 2007

    At least seven employees of the Farm Boy grocery chain have been fired for making derogatory comments about the Ottawa company and its customers on an Internet chat site.
    The remarks were posted on the popular website in a forum called “I got Farm Boy’d,” which featured a picture of the company’s logo surrounded by a red circle with a slash through the centre. The logo had been removed from the site yesterday, but many comments posted by users remained.
    Farm Boy president Donny Milito said yesterday that seven of the forum’s 186 members were fired for making verbal attacks against customers and staff and breaching the company’s code of ethics.
    “No one was terminated for simply posting on a website,” said Mr. Milito. “We have always been about respecting our customers and employees. … In the end I felt we had to stand up and defend ourselves in the best interest of our customers.”
    The company learned of the postings after other employees informed managers.
    James Wood, an 18-year-old University of Ottawa history student, said he was among those losing jobs at the grocer because of involvement with the website.
    Mr. Wood said he was called in by a supervisor when he arrived at work on Friday and confronted with his posts. He said he was fired because of an account of dealing with a difficult customer who complained about the price of milk.
    “I told him I wouldn’t buy it here either,” Mr. Wood said yesterday. “As he was leaving, I think he heard me say he should ‘f-off’.”
    Mr. Wood said he put those details on
    “I wrote that — I am not going to deny writing it,” he said.
    The site allows users to post personal profiles and link with groups of friends to chat. Many use their real names and locations, and most include photographs of themselves.
    Mr. Wood said the forum was a place for employees to get together and relieve stress, and many of the stories were exaggerated.
    “We all try to one-up each other,” he said. “To us, it seemed like instead of talking in a locker room, we are talking on this.”
    Mr. Wood has since apologized to his former employer, claiming his posts never slammed Farm Boy directly. He also said many of the postings praised Farm Boy as a great place to work.
    Others on the website were not as kind.
    One poster, identified on the site as Jodie Marie Hamilton, states in her profile that she works as a cashier at the Farm Boy near Blossom Park. Her job description states: “I deal with stupid customers that yell at me. It’s loads of fun. I would suggest you never try it. Unless you like ugly uniforms and taking turns go (sic) out in the cold to get carts for lazy customers.”
    Another, identified as Marc Lamenoise, describes his job as a customer service representative as: “I stack swollen edible ovaries of a million different shapes, sizes and colour for the immidiate (sic) consumption by our fellow flesh bags.”
    Neither Mr. Lamenoise or Ms. Hamilton could be reached for comment yesterday.
    Mr. Milito said the posted remarks involved only a tiny number of Farm Boy’s 1,200 workers in Eastern Ontario.
    “It’s unfortunate. We are talking about a handful of employees,” said Mr. Milito. “We have so many wonderful employees.”
    Mr. Milito said he encourages employees to discuss any work-related concerns with managers.
    According to David Harris, a Toronto lawyer specializing in wrongful dismissal lawsuits, Internet users need to realize anything they say online can come back to bite them.
    “When you say something defamatory, if you are lambasting your employer unfairly then it’s fair game that the employer could hold you to a standard and terminate your employment,” he said.
    As well as watching what they post to Internet blogs and chat rooms, employees should be careful about how they use the corporate e-mail system.
    “It’s unfathomable the things people think they can get away with using company e-mail,” he said. “It’s all a matter of public record.”
    Filtering the content added to Internet websites has become especially important in recent years. There have been many cases where employees have been fired or disciplined for posting questionable content. There is even a term for it, “dooced”.
    The term refers to the author of, Heather B. Armstrong, who was fired for writing about her colleagues in 2002. Her site offers a suggestion to others who would think about writing derogatory comments about their boss online.
    “My advice to you is be ye not so stupid. Never write about work on the Internet unless your boss knows and sanctions the fact that you are writing about work on the Internet.”
    © The Ottawa Citizen 2007

  29. Ottawa Citizen article January says:

    Workers who insult clients deserve what they get

    Daniel Drolet
    The Ottawa Citizen

    Friday, January 19, 2007

    Fern Beaudoin, a shoe salesman at J.E. Letellier Ltd. on Rideau Street, has seen a lot of things since he began his career in retail sales in Montreal in 1946.
    But Mr. Beaudoin, who is 77 years old and has spent the last 35 years at Letellier, says one thing that hasn’t changed is the way customers or employees behave.
    “It’s not any different than it was in the past,” he said, adding that customers aren’t any more demanding than they used to be, and employees aren’t any less honest,
    “If they weren’t honest, they wouldn’t be working here!” he says proudly of his employer.
    But what has changed since Mr. Beaudoin started working is technology. It’s changed quite a lot.
    And where an employee in 1946 might have confined griping about the boss or overly demanding customers to an after-hours gabfest in a smoky tavern, the Internet now lets that griping take place in what — whether we realize it or not — is a public forum.
    As a result, comments that once remained confidential are out there for all to see, with potentially damaging consequences for businesses.
    That’s the new reality, as seven employees of the Farm Boy grocery chain found out recently when they were fired for making derogatory comments about the company and its customers on an Internet chat site.
    “The world is a small place now electronically,” says Len Brooks, a professor of business ethics and accounting at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management.
    “In the ethics business, we believe there are no secrets, whatever you are doing will become public knowledge in due course.”
    Up to now, most of the focus in business ethics has been on the behaviour of large corporations, the Enrons of the world. But the Farm Boy situation shows the need for discussion of ethics right down to the employee level: What kind of griping is acceptable, what is over the limit. And what’s the best place in which to do it.
    Mr. Brooks agrees with Mr. Beaudoin that people haven’t changed. He says that about 10 per cent of the people will never steal, for example, and another 10 per cent or so will attempt something fraudulent or unethical “no matter what the rules are.”
    “The middle group, which accounts for 80 per cent, might try something fraudulent or unethical if they think they can get away with it,” he says.
    So from his perspective, part of the solution is for every employer to have clear rules and structures in place to provide a forum for employee complaints and issues.
    (Farm Boy, for example, has a code of ethics, and company president Donny Milito said one of the reasons for the firings was that those seven employees had breached that code.)
    Mr. Brooks says better rules will help keep that 80 per cent on the straight and narrow. “If a company is regarded as being a fair company to consumers and to employees, this should reduce the incidence of people trying to take advantage of it.”
    But while people haven’t changed, there has been a change of mindset in recent years that goes beyond technology. And that’s the growth of both interest in ethical business practices and whistleblowing — employees taking it upon themselves to denounce their employers.
    “Thirty years ago, or even 15 years ago, most employees were reluctant, if not afraid, to bring forward problems in the organization,” said Mr. Brooks.
    But now whistleblowing is beginning to be actively encouraged in many places and employees may feel they shouldn’t have to keep silent.
    Mr. Brooks says the public is also scrutinizing business practices in a way it never used to. “Increasingly, the public is more aware of ethical difficulties (of companies) and more aware that they have choices,” he said. On environmental issues, for example, “people are prepared to take action where why might not have been in the past.”
    That increases the danger factor for retail firms whose employees denounce the company online. Those stores may, for example, find themselves boycotted if there’s a perception they’re doing something wrong or mistreating their employees.
    Every employer has to accept that employees are sometimes going to gripe. That’s par for the course, and ideally a company should have an internal structure to allow for serious complaints to be addressed.
    Employees, for their part, need to accept that it’s best (in most cases) to keep that griping private and realize that anything on the Internet is, by definition, in the public domain.
    But no retail store employee should ever insult a customer to his or her face, or in a public forum like the Internet.
    Anyone who does should be prepared to accept the consequences.
    © The Ottawa Citizen 2007

  30. Ottawa Citizen article January says:

    Employers’ ‘dooce’ powers trump speech rights

    Mark Sutcliffe
    The Ottawa Citizen

    Saturday, January 20, 2007
    Naturally, for some of the people who have lost their jobs over something they posted on the Internet, it’s a matter of freedom of speech. The Internet chat room run by current and former employees of the Farm Boy grocery chain now refers to itself as a place for them to “share experiences, discuss topics and even have a place to express their opinion as guaranteed under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.”
    The moral indignation and citing of the Charter arise from the fact that some of the members of the chat room have changed status from current to former employees in the past week. Farm Boy fired at least seven staff members for posting comments to the chat room about the company and its customers.
    One fired employee had written in the chat room about telling a customer to “f— off.” Another posting at the same site talked about “stupid customers that yell at me,” “ugly uniforms” and “lazy customers.” Another made reference to stacking “swollen edible ovaries” for “our fellow flesh bags.” It’s not clear what this last individual was talking about, but you have to admire his imagination, if not his use of metaphor.
    The fired Farm Boy workers join the growing list of people who have fallen victim to the seductive powers of the Internet, that free, independent and democratic place where candor is encouraged and cheered, regardless of the possible consequences to everyday life. (I pity the political leaders of tomorrow. For them, the pressing question will not be, “Did you inhale?” but: What did you mean when you wrote this in your blog when you were 19 years old? Or: What about this comment you posted to a chat room as a teenager?)
    Farm Boy is not the first company to take action against outspoken or loose-lipped employee bloggers. It’s widespread enough that there is even a term for those who have been handed pink slips for their electronic candor. Having been “dooced,” according to MacMillan’s online dictionary, is “having lost your job because of something you have put in an Internet weblog.”
    Not surprisingly, the bloggers have started to mobilize in their own defence. Bloggers’ rights organizations have sprung up to attack “blogophobic” companies (those that dooce) and demand specific policies on blogging so that employees know what’s expected of them if they post their musings about work online.
    Employee grumbling is nothing new. It should hardly be surprising to any company that some of its workers may be exchanging negative comments about their jobs or, in some cases, the people they have to serve. But there’s a difference between complaining in a private setting and posting gripes on the Internet.
    The problem is that the Internet has the feel of a private conversation when it’s exactly the opposite. When you whine about work amongst your friends, the potential damage to your employer is minimal and your boss may never even hear about it.
    When you do it on the Internet, everyone can see it. That creates potential damage to your company and also a smoking gun with your fingerprints on it.
    The unfiltered and candid nature of online communications has many benefits, including how it turns any customer into a potential consumer journalist. It doesn’t hurt to be able to peruse frank and unfiltered customer reviews before, for example, booking a room in a hotel you’ve never been to before.
    And the bloggers’ rights groups have at least one good point. Companies should develop policies so employees know what’s acceptable and what isn’t. And companies shouldn’t be overzealous in controlling what their employees say.
    But bloggers shouldn’t need a policy to tell them what essentially is a matter of good judgment. Anyone posting a work-related comment to a chat room should think carefully about whether they would be willing to make the same comment to a roomful of co-workers and customers. Would you expect to keep your job if you called customers lazy or stupid to their faces?
    Consider the advice of Heather Armstrong. “Never write about work on the Internet unless your boss knows and sanctions the fact,” she said.
    Armstrong knows what she’s talking about. In 2002, she lost her job as a web designer when she wrote about work colleagues on her blog, Ever since then, the name of her blog has been lent to those who, like her, were fired for their online writings.
    And for the bloggers who claim their free speech rights, it may be legally within your rights to say nasty things about your employer or your customers, either in person or online, but your employer has rights as well. That includes expecting a certain standard of behaviour, including respect for the company and its customers, from all of its employees.
    Your basic human rights are indeed guaranteed. Your job, however, is not.
    © The Ottawa Citizen 2007

  31. your rights go stepped on
    You people (who still work at farm boy, or not) should put up a web-page to get all ottawa area farm boys unionized. Stick it back to them.

    Contact a union and ask what you can and can’t do. Let them help you.

  32. nopetounion
    I was working for a place that had a union and I wish we did not. You just pay your fees and they never help you…..its all bull what the unions promise. NO NEED FOR THE MIDDLE MAN. Lets deal directly with FB.

  33. call for rights
    If there was a union, would people have been fired for speaking their minds as allowed under charter rights?

    If conditions are bad, breaks are not allowed, some people not getting over-time pay, people not allowed to look at their contracts and on and on… would a union not help?

    If farm boy can treat you like dirt (as per what some of you had to say), do you not think a union would help?

    If farm boy wants to close all ottawa area stores to prevent a union, good. Their loss. You can find another grocery packing job at Loblaws the way I see it.

  34. Irene…

  35. from
    They Got Farm Boy’d!


    Conversation overheard recently at an Ottawa area Farm Boy grocery store between two shelf stackers, somewhere around college or university age:

    EMPLOYEE 1: Working sucks, doesn’t it?

    EMPLOYEE 2: Yep, it sure does. It’s so boring, huh huh. They, like, pay us to stock shelves and stuff. How lame. We could totally be, like, Paris Hilton right now and, like, making a ton of money just from doing nothin’.

    EMPLOYEE 1: If we were a chick.

    EMPLOYEE 2: Yeah, if we were a chick.

    EMPLOYEE 1: Hey, I have a really cool idea.

    EMPLOYEE 2: What?

    EMPLOYEE 1: Why don’t we put up a posting on a Facebook group about all the cool stuff we wish we could do here. Like stealing stuff. Money, groceries, you name it.

    EMPLOYEE 2: Heh, that’d be so radical.

    EMPLOYEE 1: We could even use our real names.

    EMPLOYEE 2: Yeah. Cool.

    EMPLOYEE 1: And the best part of it all is that nobody would know all about it, because it’s the Internet. And everybody knows that nobody reads the Internet.

    EMPLOYEE 2: Heh, heh. That’s right. Nobody reads the Internet. That’d be, like, so awesome.

    Some time later, this shows up in the Ottawa Sun newspaper:

    Several Farm Boy employees in Ottawa have been fired over the past week after the company learned of their postings on a popular Internet networking website.

    The employees were dismissed from Farm Boy locations across the city after posting comments in the “I Got Farm Boy’d” group on the Facebook website. …

    On Friday, Devon Bourgeois was called into his store manger’s office at the Kanata Farm Boy and shown copies of posts he had written Nov. 13.

    “I particularly was confronted for, and terminated for, admission of theft, which, based on the posts I had written, was under a hypothetical topic known as ‘Only at Farm Boy’ had these situations occurred,” he said.

    “My post was taken to be literal and as a confession, which it never was.”


    Not very smart, eh?

    On the other hand: Can you imagine a society where Joe Q. Public is held responsible forever and ever for something they might have written on the Internet? You know, everyone messes up from time to time and says or does things they don’t really mean.

    I’m really hoping that Devon finds another job somewhere, assuming he learns from this. Nobody needs to have something like this sticking to them for the rest of their life.

  36. Henry
    I agree with “nopetounion”…I don’t want to waste my money for the supposed representation of some union.

  37. Hi, I am a news reporter doing a story on the pros and cons of facebook and wondering if any of you who have had a bad experience would be willing to talk to me? It would have to be today, March 29th. Please write back if interested. Thanks!

  38. chaoskelly
    Does anyone know the insurance company that insures Farmboy? The information would be greatly appreciated.


  39. Anonymous says:

    Anybody who was fired over a posting on the Internet cannot be fired for it. Does Farmboy, or anybody else have absolute proof that you posted it. Maybe a fellow employee did it to make you look bad. Maybe the manager who fired you wrote it, so that heéshe can fire you. Just say you didn`t write the post, and you`re scott free.

  40. gangsta
    hey all, i wanna quit, but i dont know how, what should i do

  41. Re
    Students in the world buy the written research papers or custom essay at the paper writing service reffering to this topic. They know about the essay writing from the writing services.

  42. eye opening
    I shop at FB regulary but after reading all this I will never shop here again.period.

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