Employees fired for Facebook post

2013-09-09T16:59:00Z Employees fired for Facebook postBy JESSICA HOLDMAN | Bismarck Tribune Bismarck Tribune

Two employees at Famous Dave’s in Bismarck were fired after posting a photo to Facebook complaining about tips during the United Tribes International Powwow.

The photo depicted one employee holding a cardboard sign that read, “Help I’m a server at Famous Dave’s on Pow Wow weekend! Anything helps! 5 cents 25 cents! It’s more than my tips.”

The employee pictured was in the restaurant and wearing her uniform in the photo. She and the employee who took the photo were both fired.

“Like many employers, we employ many people. People have opinions. Social media allows an outlet for these opinions,” owner Mike Wright said in a statement on Facebook. “Sadly, for reasons unknown to me, often times bitter employees also try to embarrass the employers and taint the businesses where they work. Clearly a recent post by a now former employee fits this description.”

Wright chose not to release the employees’ names, citing employee confidentiality. The Tribune was not able to contact them.

Wright said in a phone interview the woman in the photo “did something that was a mistake.” He said she felt bad and has privately apologized for the post.

He said he did not know whether the photo was originally posted to the woman’s Facebook page or elsewhere. He said he found out from callers to the restaurant, and the photo was reposted on the restaurant’s Facebook page.

Wright left the photo on the restaurant’s Facebook page until people started manipulating and Photoshopping the image. His statement on the Facebook page had 490 likes, 146 shares and 133 comments Monday afternoon.

“I will allow the court of public opinion to weigh in on this obviously offensive post,” he said on Facebook.

Wright said while employees have their own opinions, social media brought the photo into the public realm.

“Hopefully we can move on beyond this,” he said.

Bismarck-Mandan Convention and Visitors Bureau Chief Executive Officer Terry Harzinski said about $2 million dollars is spent at local businesses by those staying in hotels during Powwow weekend annually, “which is very significant.”

Reach Jessica Holdman at 701-250-8261 or jessica.holdman@bismarcktribune.com.

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