Fired Over “Fat”: Did Addition Elle Make the Right Call?

by Samfiru Tumarkin


Tuesday, April 12th, 2016 at 3:47 am


Can your employer fire you for cause because of something you posted on your Facebook account that they took offence to?

Normally, our answer would be “no”, unless you post derogatory or disparaging comments about your boss that are accessible to coworkers (see Lougheed Imports Ltd. v. United Food and Commercial Workers International Union).

The spat between Connie Levitsky and plus-size women’s retailer Addition Elle, however, is a different scenario.

The student, who proudly describes herself as being fat, worked as a sales associate at one of the company’s Edmonton locations.

On her personal Facebook page, she described her job title as “Conquering the world, one well-dressed fat lady at a time.”

When her manager caught wind of the descriptor, Levitsky was asked to remove the comment. Levitsky complied.

When she arrived for work a few days later, she was fired.

Levitsky was informed that Addition Elle did not want to be associated with the word “fat” because of the negativity surrounding it. They instead preferred terms like “curvy” or “shapely”.

After the student brough attention to her termination via social and mainstream media, Addition Elle reversed their decision and offered Levitsky her job back, a job that she said she would not accept.

 

Did Addition Elle have the right to fire her in the first place?

If Levistky identifies herself on Facebook as working for Addition Elle, then posting such comments may well hurt her employer’s business. Someone may read it, be insulted and decide not to shop in the store.

If she did NOT identify herself as working for the store, then posting such comments is a non-issue.

An employee has a duty to act in their employer’s best interests. That includes not embarrassing the employer on Facebook. This certainly would be cause for discipline and could, potentially, rise to the level of cause for termination.

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