A Single Tweet...and the 'Putty Tat' May Get Ya

Even Tweety Bird knows to stop tweeting when it thinks it sees a “Putty Tat.”  So if you want to keep your job, your professional reputation, or your settlement check, learn from these cautionary tales.

Before boarding a plane to South Africa, public relations executive Justine Sacco tweeted:

Going to Africa.  Hope I don’t get AIDS.  Just kidding.  I’m white!

Sign Up for E-News

Her tweet went viral while she was in the air.  Although Sacco used her personal Twitter account, her profile listed the name of her employer, a large media company.  Despite her later online apology, Sacco’s employer fired her the next day.

You’d think a public relations professional would know better than to create her own PR nightmare.

But should a former prep school headmaster know not to tell his college-age daughter about his settlement with the school, because she might post the information on Facebook?

Thanks to his daughter, Patrick Snay had to forfeit $80,000 — the bulk of his settlement payment for age discrimination and retaliation — when she boasted on Facebook:

Mama and Papa Snay won the case against Gulliver.  Gulliver is now
officially paying for my vacation to Europe this summer.  SUCK IT.

The post went out to about 1,200 of Dana Snay’s Facebook friends, many of whom were either current or past Gulliver students.  The Florida court found that Patrick Snay violated the confidentiality clause of the agreement and therefore could not collect the $80,000.

In a FindLaw survey conducted last year, 29 percent of young adults were concerned that their social media posts would cause them to lose their jobs, and 21 percent said they had removed posts because of this concern.  However, “delete” does not always mean the information is completely removed from the Internet.

Just because you’re a yellow bird doesn’t mean you may tweet to your heart’s content at work on company time and equipment, or anywhere if your tweets (or other online posts) consist of:

  • racial, ethnic or sexual slurs toward other employees;
  • defamatory comments about the company, other employees or clients;
  • personal gripes that violate harassment, discrimination or non-disparagement policies;
  • company confidential information; or
  • illegal activity.

However, particularly if you’re not a manager, you may have online discussions with your co-workers about your compensation and other terms and conditions of employment.  So if you think your boss is a jerk or you’re underpaid, your employer should not discipline you for tweeting about it, unless you’re doing so on company time.

But you won’t win any popularity contests with management.

So, before sending that tweet:

  1. Check your company’s social media policy.  If your company doesn’t have one, you may want to suggest it create one, so everyone is clear about the dos and don’ts.
  2. Take a deep breath.  Carefully review and edit your post before firing it off.  Consider any unintended consequences and the fact that information may live forever on the Internet.
  3. Ask yourself, “What would my mother say?”  If she would disapprove, that’s a good enough reason not to post.

For more advice on how to avoid trouble at work on social media, click here.

**This column is for informational purposes only.  It is not offered as legal advice, nor is it intended to create an attorney-client relationship with any reader.  Consult with competent local employment counsel to determine how the matters addressed here may affect you.**

Alix R. Rubin, Esq. founded Rubin Employment Law in 2010 to fill the need for compassionate legal counsel for both employers and employees.  The goal of the firm, which is located in Pine Brook, is to help its clients resolve their disputes cost effectively and with as little disruption to their businesses, and lives, as possible.

Alix’s strength is in creative and persuasive writing.  She graduated magna cum laude with a B.A. degree in English and French from Tufts University and then earned a Master of Journalism degree from Temple University.  She honed her listening, interviewing and writing skills as a public relations practitioner and journalist before earning a J.D. degree from the University of Pennsylvania Law School in 1996.  Alix is admitted to the bar in New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania.

Before starting her own firm, Alix was a litigation associate at two major New Jersey firms and a partner at the New Jersey office of a small New York firm.  She also is an investigator at Verita LLC, where she conducts internal workplace investigations of employee misconduct, and is of counsel to Clark Guldin in Montclair.  Alix currently serves on the Board of Trustees of Volunteer Lawyers for Justice and as a director of the Wharton Alumni Club of New Jersey.

She can be reached at arubin@alixrubinlaw.com or 973.787.8442.

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of TAPinto.net or anyone who works for TAPinto.net. TAPinto.net is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


Upcoming Events


Fri, May 25, 6:15 AM

TD Bank Ballpark, Bridgewater

Last Day to buy Baseball Fundraiser Tix

Education Giving Back Sports


Sun, May 27, 2:00 PM

Pyramid Mountain, Montville Township

Woodland Tree Walk: Moderate

Health & Wellness


Mon, May 28

Montville Township, Montville

Memorial Day

Giving Back

Tue, May 29, 10:00 AM

Montville Township Public Library, Montville




Wed, May 30, 11:00 AM

Montville Township Community Park - VFW Post 5481, Montville

Memorial Day Commemoration by VFW

Giving Back

JCP&L to Attend Montville Township Committee Meeting

May 21, 2018

MONTVILLE, NJ – Montville Township administration announced that a representative from JCP&L will attend the Tuesday, May 22 Montville Township Committee meeting to discuss the company’s response to the recent storm events as well as answer questions from the public.  The meeting will take place at Montville Township Town Hall, 195 Changebridge Road, Montville, at ...

1000+ Luminaries Glowed for Inclusion Throughout Montville Twp on 3rd Annual OneMontville Green In Day

May 23, 2018

MONTVILLE, NJ - On Friday, May 18, OneMontville, a non-profit in Montville Township, New Jersey dedicated to raising awareness for Acceptance, Respect and Kindness, hosted the 3rd Annual Green In Day. Elected officials, township employees, students, teachers, business owners and others wore green in support of the organization's mission to promote inclusion for all residents.

In ...

Cedar Hill 5th Grader Gets Pied for a Purpose

May 20, 2018

MONTVILLE, NJ – Joe Signorella, a fifth grader at Cedar Hill Elementary School in Towaco, wanted to come up with a great idea for his Treps marketplace booth. Treps is an afterschool program that teaches the students how to run a business: advertising, pricing, financing. But first you have to come up with your product or service.

Joe had some ideas, like selling soccer balls since he ...

10-Year Old Boy Battling Cancer Receives Generous Donation From Randolph Hockey Family

May 20, 2018

RANDOLPH, NJ- While the inter-town hockey battles on the ice between Randolph and Roxbury are fierce at every age level, when it comes to real life battles off the ice there is no hesitation to offer help to their neighbor.

Such is the case with a recent gesture of unity and support from the Randolph Varsity hockey team, when they came together to deliver good wishes and ...

Tour of Somerville Weekend: Quarter-Mile Sprints Add High-Speed Dynamic

May 22, 2018

SOMERVILLE, NJ  - The grand daddy of ‘em  all, the 75-year-old Tour of Somerville 50-mile bicycle race, anchors a weekend of world class cycling in Bound Brook and downtown Somerville May 24-28, with a new event added Sunday night to draw more spectators downtown.

Spectators this year will see an additional day of racing beginning with the Bound Brook Criterium on ...

Host an International Exchange Student

May 24, 2018

EF High School Exchange Year announces annual search for student exchange host families in communities across the New Jersey

EF High School Exchange Year—a division of EF Education First, the World Leader in International Education—has kicked off its annual nationwide search for caring host families to welcome exchange students into their homes. Last year EF connected over 3,000 ...


OPEN HOUSES This Weekend 5/26-5/27 2018

The following homes have OPEN HOUSES presented by RE/MAX Neighborhood Properties this weekend.


  From 12 - 2 p.m.

  136 Changebridge, Unit B6, Montville

  Click HERE to see the full listing.



  From 1 - 4 p.m.

  16 Schneider Lane, Montville

  Click HERE to see the full listing.


OPEN HOUSES this weekend 5/19-5/20 2018

The following homes have OPEN HOUSES presented by RE/MAX Neighborhood Properties this weekend.

SATURDAY, MAY 19, 2018:

  From 11 a.m. - 1 p.m.

  44 Union Street, C0008, Montclair

  Click HERE to see Full Listing.


SUNDAY, MAY 20, 2018:

  From 1 - 4 p.m.

  9 Condit Road, Mountain Lakes

   Click HERE to see Full ...

SURVIVING A STROKE: Quick Medical Response Gives Mom Her Life Back

Carotid artery dissection. It’s one of the most common causes of stroke in younger adults.

And while you might not associate the word “stroke” with younger patients, the condition – if not treated immediately – could lead to paralysis and even death.

Lindsey Singh can attest to the importance of immediacy. The 31-year-old mother of two from Flanders experienced ...


AtlantiCast: Episode 15

On this week’s AtlantiCast, learn some important tips for controlling and avoiding diabetes from an Atlantic Health System expert, see how Atlantic Health is advancing cutting-edge research, hear what’s being done to keep health care environmentally friendly and much more!


'Turning Off the Morning News' brings comic twist

‘Turning Off the Morning News’ tackles today’s issues with a comic twist

By Liz Keill

PRINCETON, N J – Despite the late night comics, no one quite captures the insanity of the political/social status world like Christopher Durang.

His latest play, “Turning off the Morning News” hit the ground running.  John Pankow as Jimmy addresses the audience, ...

'To Kill a Mockingbird' Sustains Timeless Appeal

SUMMIT, NJ – The Summit Playhouse provides a stellar production of a much loved classic, “To Kill a Mockingbird.”

The Harper Lee novel, later a Gregory Peck film and now a stage production, retains all the warmth, intensity and integrity that made it such an appealing hit in the 1960s. And there will be a new production on Broadway in December with a script by Aaron Sorkin ...

Pet Corner