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The top 10 ways to lose your job just by using social media

Last week The Drum published its guide on how to get arrested just by using social media. This week we thought we would share with our readers 10 ways to use modern technology to leave your job without all that tedious bother of writing a resignation letter.

1. Insult the customers: In 2008,13 flight attendants at Virgin Atlantic lost their jobs for posts on a Facebook group which included calling customers “Chavs” and confessing that their aircraft were “full of cockroaches.” Staff at a Tesco outlet in Limerick, Ireland went a step further though, posting secretly-taken pictures of customers on the social network along with comments - one of which referred to a customer as a “fruitcake.”

2. Look for another job: Gas company executive John Flexman was ousted from his job after posting his CV on LinkedIn along with ticking a box to show he was interested in future “career opportunities.” On his return from holiday Flexman was disciplined for “inappropriate use of social media.” In this case there was a happy ending though as a tribunal decided the former manager had been “constructively dismissed” and awarded him compensation

3.Complain about your workspace: In 2011 David Rowat was instantly dismissed and “frogmarched” from the Argos superstore where he had worked for 13 years. Rowat had made the fatal mistake of returning from holiday and posting on Facebook "the deliveries hadn't been done and the place was a bit of a tip," which Argos ruled could “damage the reputation of the company".

4. Be racist: There was one sacking due last year for a social media post that no-one complained about. Waiting to board a flight to Cape Town public relations executive Justine Sacco tweeted “Going to Africa. Hope I don’t get AIDS. Just kidding I’m white!” While she was still in the air her puerile post was picked up by Buzzfeed leading to the hashtag #HasJustineLandedYet trending on Twitter. The PR deleted the post and her entire account on arrival in South Africa, but it was too late. Her employers, IAC, quickly terminated her employment citing Sacco's “Hateful statement”

5. Insult the royals: In 2011 Buckingham palace Guardsman Cameron Reilly got upset when Kate Middleton didn’t wave to him as she drove past. Reilly, 18, took to Facebook to rant: “'Hur (sic) and William drove past me on Friday and all I got was a s****y wave while she looked the opposite way from me, stupid, stuck-up cow. Am I not good enough for them! Posh b****. Who really gives a f*** about hur?” When the army carried out further investigations of Reilly’s Facebook account they found racist and anti-Semitic posts and he was dismissed from Royal duties soon after.

6. Complain about your boss' pay: Bankers bonuses may be a controversial issue but it’s probably not a good idea to comment publicly about it when you work for a bank. Stephanie Bon from Essex was working for Lloyds Banking group when she posted on Facebook “'LBG's new CEO gets £4,000 an hour. I get £7. That's fair.” After being called to a disciplinary meeting she claimed she had merely expressed her opinion outside working hours. Her bosses however were not in a forgiving mood and Bon’s contract was not renewed.

7. Have the wrong friends: We all had people popping up on our Facebook news feed you can’t even remember “friending.” For one woman though forgetting who was on her list had regrettable consequences when she posted that her boss was a “perv” and a “W*nker” as her manager replied “I guess you forgot about adding me here” and advised her that her P45 was in the post. However first prize in this category has to go to prison officer Nathan Singh who earned his dismissal after it was discovered that he was Facebook chums with 13 of the criminals he was meant to be guarding.

8. Wrestle a shark: Appearing on social media can be a perilous business as Welsh charity worker Paul Marshallea found out last year. Marshallea became an internet sensation after he was filmed grabbing a shark that was threatening children on an Australian beach. Sadly his employer took a dimmer view of his heroics as he had been on leave for “stress” at the time. Bemoaning his dismissal Marshallea said “If I hadn't gone in to save the kids on that beach that day I would still have a job..There's not much call for shark wrestlers in Merthyr Tydfil,” he said.

9. Say exactly the wrong thing. Prospective Scottish Labour parliamentary candidate Stuart McLennan’s political career was cut short after opposition researchers checked his Twitter feed. As well as describing elderly voters as “coffin dodgers” and telling the world “I think I might be sober for the first time in four days” Mclennan criticised the taste of fair trade bananas asking “Can I have a slave-grown, chemically enhanced, genetically modified one please?” The only example of a more dumb use of Twitter we could find was from a mechanic in Canada who used the micro-blogging site to request a drug delivery saying: “Any dealers in Vaughan wanna make a 20sac chop? Come to Keele/Langstaff, need a spliff.” The unnamed worker saw his job go up in smoke after local police retweeted his post adding “can we come too?”

10. Don’t do your research: In the build-up to this year’s Sochi Winter Olympics Stephane Samson, PR manager for the Lotus Formula One team decided to use the official team account to tweet a picture of two men kissing as part the campaign to protest against Russian president Vladimir Putin’s homophobic policies. Samson was dismissed soon after for what team managers called “an astonishing lack of judgement.” It seems that in his rush to join the campaign Samson had forgotten that Lotus’s main sponsors are Russian phone manufacturer YotaPhone.

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