Caught out on Facebook - Another One

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Re: Caught out on Facebook - Another One

Postby natraj » Tue Oct 28, 2008 5:48 pm UTC

Xeio wrote:The reason race/ethnicity/sex/ect. are protected, is because they don't have an effect on your work output, and thus are not valid reasons to choose not to hire someone. Your lifestyle does.

Should it be the only measure? No. But if you have a choice between two otherwise nearly identical candidates...


I get kinda wary of saying things like that (even -- or maybe especially -- regarding things like information on places like Facebook and such) cuz of how much leeway people have to say "this is a "lifestyle" we don't want at our company". I mean, okay, the case from the article was a case of a guy getting drunk and then calling in sick when he was hungover (which, IMO, is a perfectly valid reason to take a sick day if you've got sick days left!) but there's other stuff you could find out from Facebook that falls under that category. Like if my employer went to my Facebook, they could find out I'm queer and say just as easily that it is a "lifestyle" that reflects badly on them, and fire/not hire me. (And, you know, that is also not a protected status in a lot of states and they would have every legal right to not hire me, but it doesn't make it any more right that they use my personal life against me when it comes to hiring.
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Re: Caught out on Facebook - Another One

Postby 22/7 » Tue Oct 28, 2008 5:58 pm UTC

I can only assume when you say "queer" you mean homosexual? If so, homosexuality falls under sexual orientation, and as such is protected. So no, it's not a "lifestyle" that they could use as a reason not to hire you.

If you just mean that you're strange, that's something they'll pick up off the interview.
Totally not a hypothetical...

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Re: Caught out on Facebook - Another One

Postby natraj » Tue Oct 28, 2008 6:59 pm UTC

22/7 wrote:I can only assume when you say "queer" you mean homosexual? If so, homosexuality falls under sexual orientation, and as such is protected. So no, it's not a "lifestyle" that they could use as a reason not to hire you.

If you just mean that you're strange, that's something they'll pick up off the interview.


Um, no. There is not, actually, protection against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity (as a queer trans-ish person, I'm screwed both ways) in most states. They're working on passing ENDA, but it hasn't been passed yet (and even if it does get passed, it likely won't include gender identity, yet.) 13 states protect against both of those, and an additional seven protect against sexual orientation only. So, yeah. In a majority of the country, still, it is a "lifestyle" they could use to not hire me, based off of personal things found somewhere like Facebook, and that is sort of horrible.
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Re: Caught out on Facebook - Another One

Postby Izawwlgood » Tue Oct 28, 2008 7:10 pm UTC

Then check your facebook as private and don't allow your coworkers access to it.

There seems to be this misunderstanding that the 'checking of facebook' by employers is akin to a wiretap. It's not.
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Re: Caught out on Facebook - Another One

Postby 22/7 » Tue Oct 28, 2008 7:18 pm UTC

After a quick look, damn. I thought that was federally protected like gender, age, ethnicity, etc. I learned something today, though something that pisses me off. Is there anything happening in Congress to get sexual orientation on the books?
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Re: Caught out on Facebook - Another One

Postby Princess Marzipan » Tue Oct 28, 2008 7:26 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:Then check your facebook as private and don't allow your coworkers access to it.

There seems to be this misunderstanding that the 'checking of facebook' by employers is akin to a wiretap. It's not.


So I guess you should also not do things like attend gay pride parades, or get drunk on weekends, or even on work nights if you are not prone to hangovers. You shouldn't do anything in public just to make sure you're not sending out a vibe that employers don't like.

No, seriously dude, fuck that shit. It's like someone from HR coincidentally hearing a conversation at the grocery store where you talk about how totally blitzed you got last night, or what a prick your boss is, and disciplining you for it at work, or factoring it into a hiring decision.
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Re: Caught out on Facebook - Another One

Postby natraj » Tue Oct 28, 2008 7:30 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:Then check your facebook as private and don't allow your coworkers access to it.

There seems to be this misunderstanding that the 'checking of facebook' by employers is akin to a wiretap. It's not.


I do have my profile set private, and I -- well. Don't have a boss or any coworkers, at the moment, so for me it is irrelevant. My point is just that it's pretty dickish of an employer to be using your private life against you, when it doesn't have any bearing on your professional one, and that there are plenty of employers who would stretch the definition of what has a bearing on your professional life to be bigoted jerks.

I realize that society is just, y'know, like that. That doesn't mean I have to like it.

22/7 wrote:After a quick look, damn. I thought that was federally protected like gender, age, ethnicity, etc. I learned something today, though something that pisses me off. Is there anything happening in Congress to get sexual orientation on the books?


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Employment ... nation_Act

There's been a lot of anger in the queer community over the bill, mostly because a lot of more mainstream queer organizations (like the Human Rights Campaign) and prominent queer politicians (like Barney Frank) kind of just screwed over trans people with the bill -- first there was a version that included gender identity, then they took it out because they thought it would hurt the more important acceptable gay people's chances of getting it passed -- it's been pretty back-and-forthish. But yes! There has been effort to get it federally protected. We'll see where it goes.
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Re: Caught out on Facebook - Another One

Postby 22/7 » Tue Oct 28, 2008 7:34 pm UTC

As I expected, the two states I've most recently lived in have absolutely no protection. Awesome.
Totally not a hypothetical...

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Re: Caught out on Facebook - Another One

Postby Izawwlgood » Tue Oct 28, 2008 8:13 pm UTC

Nougatrocity wrote:So I guess you should also not do things like attend gay pride parades, or get drunk on weekends, or even on work nights if you are not prone to hangovers. You shouldn't do anything in public just to make sure you're not sending out a vibe that employers don't like.

No, seriously dude, fuck that shit. It's like someone from HR coincidentally hearing a conversation at the grocery store where you talk about how totally blitzed you got last night, or what a prick your boss is, and disciplining you for it at work, or factoring it into a hiring decision.


What you do on your own time, i.e., not work time, should be your business. But by having a social networking tool like facebook overlap your professional AND personal life means you've agreed to have your personal life scrutinized by your employer. If your employer is chill and doesn't care, fine, whatever, but if they do, then yes, you should be careful with what you post on facebook.

But there's a difference between worrying your boss will hear you in a grocery store and effectively circulating drunken photos of you in a work environment (if you treat facebook as a professional networking tool). Personally, I'd rather NOT run into my boss if I was drunk at a bar, simply because of how unprofessional such an encounter would be, but i wouldn't fear for my job if such an encounter occurred.

Look, Noug, I don't know if you've got a job or how old you are or any details about you, so I'm really only coming at this, as I've said, from the experience of someone in a laid back but fairly serious work place. I completely understand where an employer is coming from in deciding to examine all possible venues for assessing an applicants 'fit' with the company, and consider everything on the internet that *I* can find, to be fair game, plus a bit (like, a credit check wouldn't be unreasonable, and I've no idea how that shit works). So I'm not sure what you're too upset about, if you post drunken photos of yourself on facebook, and make your facebook profile public, or write some long winded rant about how you want to tear the head off every office drone you see day to day and then put your face, soc. number, and full name and address next to the diatribe, you've basically opened yourself to scrutiny. If you want to post that shit and share it with your friends, then just make sure it's private and only accessible by them.

I also recognize the hyperbole that's getting thrown around for both sides here. I would hope a potential employer wouldn't look at, say, the pride sticker you have on your car which is parked in a company parking lot as a means for scrutiny. That'd be discrimination.
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Re: Caught out on Facebook - Another One

Postby Princess Marzipan » Tue Oct 28, 2008 9:14 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:What you do on your own time, i.e., not work time, should be your business. But by having a social networking tool like facebook overlap your professional AND personal life means you've agreed to have your personal life scrutinized by your employer. If your employer is chill and doesn't care, fine, whatever, but if they do, then yes, you should be careful with what you post on facebook.


No, it absolutely does NOT mean you have agreed to have your personal life scrutinized by your employer. It means that you are fine with people knowing that information about you. It does not mean that you give employers the OK to use any of that information in deciding whether to hire you, in the same manner that being openly gay does not mean you have given employers the OK to not hire you based on that.
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Re: Caught out on Facebook - Another One

Postby Izawwlgood » Tue Oct 28, 2008 9:20 pm UTC

Nougatrocity wrote:No, it absolutely does NOT mean you have agreed to have your personal life scrutinized by your employer. It means that you are fine with people knowing that information about you. It does not mean that you give employers the OK to use any of that information in deciding whether to hire you, in the same manner that being openly gay does not mean you have given employers the OK to not hire you based on that.


Being openly gay to your employer != distributing photos of you in a unitard and covered in baby oil to your employer. I'm not suggesting censoring something like your sexual orientation or race, and if an employer were to select based on that, I agree, that's discrimination.

I think another way of thinking about this is anything you would find inappropriate for a job interview, or expect to work against you in a job interview, would probably be a good place to start for what is 'appropriate' for public distribution through the work space. Like I said, when interviewing for jobs, I changed my cellphone to something professional, short, and simple, because previously, it had been me singing a Fugazi song, or being chewed on by zombies, or a list of what I ate for breakfast. I'm not saying, 'Don't let anyone know your Jewish, you'll NEVER get hired!', I'm saying think about what you would or wouldn't tell a potential interviewer, and use your best judgment when putting shit in a public forum. I don't think that's that absurd of a concept.

Also note, questions about religion, ethnicity, or sexual orientation will not come up in a job interview. It would be illegal for an interviewer to ask you these questions, and it would be foolish for you to answer them. Furthermore, you wouldn't sit down and say "these are my credentials, contacts for letters of recommendation, and here's a 5-page spread of me being so drunk at a toga party I had sex with the couch. Hope to work with you soon".
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Re: Caught out on Facebook - Another One

Postby Princess Marzipan » Tue Oct 28, 2008 9:26 pm UTC

I perfectly understand what you're saying. And those are rules I actually follow, mostly because my online identity is so far removed from my IRL identity that it's actually very little work for me TO follow.

But here's the thing. "Being openly gay to your employer != distributing photos of you in a unitard and covered in baby oil to your employer." That is absolutely true. But also, "Putting pictures of yourself in a unitard and covered in baby oil on your facebook or other social networking site != distributing those photos to your employer." There is a huge difference between having that be public, and actually sending it to your employer. A social networking site is not by definition professional; the content you post there should not be assumed to reflect on your professional life.
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Re: Caught out on Facebook - Another One

Postby Izawwlgood » Tue Oct 28, 2008 9:33 pm UTC

I don't disagree in theory. But we're both writing a lot of 'should' into our arguments.
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Re: Caught out on Facebook - Another One

Postby EsotericWombat » Tue Oct 28, 2008 9:39 pm UTC

An employer has no business discriminating against someone for ANYTHING that doesn't have to do with the job. At all.

If it's taken as assumed that an employee's facebook account will have any bearing on his job, then it's perfectly ok for them to say "take that down if you're going to work for us," or have the employee keep a separate facebook account that won't come up in his professional life, but this is ridiculous, and should be illegal under equal opportunity employment law.

Corporate infringement against free expression is just as bad as government infringement. And as members of a free society, we're supposed to be willing to fight to the death to protect these rights.
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Re: Caught out on Facebook - Another One

Postby spi » Tue Oct 28, 2008 11:12 pm UTC

The day when my boss friends me on facebook is not a good day. I guess you can person by person block them from seeing things but that is a very annoying way for the interface to work.

I guess if I had my way I would make it so you can add users to personal groups and then disallow groups from seeing certain things.

We haven't really figured out how to work in a society where social and professional spaces are colliding.
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Re: Caught out on Facebook - Another One

Postby GreaterSteven » Wed Oct 29, 2008 12:39 am UTC

A lot of the arguments for the companies checking out facebooks are mentioning facebook being used professionally. Can we all work with a common perspective here? I (and others who agree with me, I'm sure) am working under the assumption that facebook is not being used professionally, and is completely personal and has nothing to do with work.

Under that assumption, which I've been working under this entire time (because I just didn't think about the fact that maybe some people used facebook professionally), I believe the employer/possible employer should not be able to use any information on it to take action against you in employment/possible employment.

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Re: Caught out on Facebook - Another One

Postby Izawwlgood » Wed Oct 29, 2008 12:46 am UTC

Okay, here:
No one is suggesting that employers be able to break into facebook and examine everything you've ever put on it. No one is suggesting that employers scan out your diary, or plug you into a mind reader or make you answer a questionnaire about your drinking, fucking, or partying habits.

What I *am* pointing out, is that if you use facebook as a networking tool, and have potential employers, coworkers, or customers ON facebook, which *many* people do, then you shouldn't be surprised when if there are ramifications for posting pictures of you doing unprofessional things. If you CHOOSE to mix your personal and professional networking tools, then you need to be prepared to treat them as one.
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Re: Caught out on Facebook - Another One

Postby Princess Marzipan » Wed Oct 29, 2008 12:50 am UTC

There are professional networking sites to counter facebook's mainly social purpose. LinkedIn is just one that I know of off the top of my head.

Employers should only have access to germaine information, and information you allow them to have. Your resume, your cover letter, and your references. If you are willing to provide additional information, they can be welcome to it, but they should not be able to require that additional information.

Izawwlgood: EVERYONE on facebook uses it as a networking tool. The point is that most people are NOT using facebook PROFESSIONALLY. If you are not using it professionally and not touting it professionally, it has absolutely zero relevance to your abilities as an employee.
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Re: Caught out on Facebook - Another One

Postby Intercept » Wed Oct 29, 2008 12:57 am UTC

You all realize they caught him through his status right? The easiest thing to spot on facebook by a mile? It seems far more likely to me that he had them as friends, and they just happened to notice his status, rather than, he's sick, better check his facebook just to make sure there isn't some other reason.
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Re: Caught out on Facebook - Another One

Postby Princess Marzipan » Wed Oct 29, 2008 1:06 am UTC

Intercept wrote:You all realize they caught him through his status right? The easiest thing to spot on facebook by a mile? It seems far more likely to me that he had them as friends, and they just happened to notice his status, rather than, he's sick, better check his facebook just to make sure there isn't some other reason.


We've already all pretty much agreed that friending employers grants them access to that information. It's still debatable how applicable that information is: if his company's policy is indeed that doctor's notes are not required for a single sick day, then no real company policy was violated.

However, the conversation has turned from this specific incident to the more general apparent trend of employers vetting employees using this information, or disciplining employees for non-job-related information from such sites.
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Re: Caught out on Facebook - Another One

Postby Intercept » Wed Oct 29, 2008 1:14 am UTC

I think what's non-job-related would vary vastly between the opinions of people. It's a somewhat subjective matter. Let's say I know you're a pothead. I wouldn't mind, and it wouldn't really make me less likely to hire you if I knew for some reason other than a drug test because I don't think it would necessarily harm work performance. Other employers would obviously disagree.
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Re: Caught out on Facebook - Another One

Postby Princess Marzipan » Wed Oct 29, 2008 1:20 am UTC

Intercept wrote:I think what's non-job-related would vary vastly between the opinions of people. It's a somewhat subjective matter. Let's say I know you're a pothead. I wouldn't mind, and it wouldn't really make me less likely to hire you if I knew for some reason other than a drug test because I don't think it would necessarily harm work performance. Other employers would obviously disagree.


If the only way you know someone smokes pot is through a drug test or through being provided with that information (in other words, you couldn't tell from how that person works and acts on the job), I'd argue that it's obviously and absolutely Pretty Fucking Irrelevant to an employer.
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Re: Caught out on Facebook - Another One

Postby Intercept » Wed Oct 29, 2008 1:22 am UTC

Nougatrocity wrote:
Intercept wrote:I think what's non-job-related would vary vastly between the opinions of people. It's a somewhat subjective matter. Let's say I know you're a pothead. I wouldn't mind, and it wouldn't really make me less likely to hire you if I knew for some reason other than a drug test because I don't think it would necessarily harm work performance. Other employers would obviously disagree.


If the only way you know someone smokes pot is through a drug test or through being provided with that information (in other words, you couldn't tell from how that person works and acts on the job), I'd argue that it's obviously and absolutely Pretty Fucking Irrelevant to an employer.


True, but we're also talking pre-employment. You're assuming you've actually seen them on the job.
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Re: Caught out on Facebook - Another One

Postby Izawwlgood » Wed Oct 29, 2008 1:33 am UTC

Nougatrocity wrote:Employers should only have access to germaine information, and information you allow them to have. Your resume, your cover letter, and your references. If you are willing to provide additional information, they can be welcome to it, but they should not be able to require that additional information.


Then don't facebook your boss! Which was what happened in this case!
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Re: Caught out on Facebook - Another One

Postby Princess Marzipan » Wed Oct 29, 2008 1:34 am UTC

Intercept wrote:True, but we're also talking pre-employment. You're assuming you've actually seen them on the job.


If you haven't seen them on the job, how can you say that X behavior makes them unqualified to do the job?
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Re: Caught out on Facebook - Another One

Postby Intercept » Wed Oct 29, 2008 1:48 am UTC

I can't, but if two people seem to be equally qualified, and one smokes pot and the other doesn't, do you honestly think it seems reasonable to hire the pot smoker?
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Re: Caught out on Facebook - Another One

Postby Princess Marzipan » Wed Oct 29, 2008 1:55 am UTC

Intercept wrote:I can't, but if two people seem to be equally qualified, and one smokes pot and the other doesn't, do you honestly think it seems reasonable to hire the pot smoker?


You seem to think it's reasonable or even ethical to specifically NOT hire them, which indicates that we have quite the fundamental disagreement on this topic.
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Re: Caught out on Facebook - Another One

Postby Intercept » Wed Oct 29, 2008 2:00 am UTC

Nougatrocity wrote:
Intercept wrote:I can't, but if two people seem to be equally qualified, and one smokes pot and the other doesn't, do you honestly think it seems reasonable to hire the pot smoker?


You seem to think it's reasonable or even ethical to specifically NOT hire them, which indicates that we have quite the fundamental disagreement on this topic.


You're... going to have to elaborate. If you have one position open for a hiring, and the two people only differ in one aspect, it is perfectly ethical to hire by choosing which side of that aspect you prefer.
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Re: Caught out on Facebook - Another One

Postby Princess Marzipan » Wed Oct 29, 2008 2:02 am UTC

Intercept wrote:You're... going to have to elaborate. If you have one position open for a hiring, and the two people only differ in one aspect, it is perfectly ethical to hire by choosing which side of that aspect you prefer.


You mean it's perfectly ethical to hire the white guy instead of the black because they're equal and you prefer the white guy?
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Re: Caught out on Facebook - Another One

Postby Intercept » Wed Oct 29, 2008 2:05 am UTC

Nougatrocity wrote:
Intercept wrote:You're... going to have to elaborate. If you have one position open for a hiring, and the two people only differ in one aspect, it is perfectly ethical to hire by choosing which side of that aspect you prefer.


You mean it's perfectly ethical to hire the white guy instead of the black because they're equal and you prefer the white guy?


You're comparing something that is illegal to do as a hiring practice to basing your decision off of whether or not they participate in an illegal activity. They're not quite the same.

EDIT: Would you say it's ethical to be forced to hire the black guy?
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Re: Caught out on Facebook - Another One

Postby Princess Marzipan » Wed Oct 29, 2008 2:07 am UTC

Intercept wrote:Would you say it's ethical to be forced to hire the black guy?


No.

It's unethical to pick ANY unrelated quality to which you defer should candidates be otherwise equal.
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Re: Caught out on Facebook - Another One

Postby Intercept » Wed Oct 29, 2008 2:08 am UTC

I knew I shouldn't have edited it. Address the main point please.
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Re: Caught out on Facebook - Another One

Postby Princess Marzipan » Wed Oct 29, 2008 2:23 am UTC

I'm talking about ethics. You're talking about legality.

Ideally, laws would match with what is and isn't ethical, but that isn't the case. Obviously the law is not always ethically correct, or there would have been no need for the Civil Rights movement.

Plus, saying that it's illegal to have a racial preference in hiring doesn't mean that having a racial preference is wrong. The fact it's completely fucking unethical means that having a racial preference is wrong. It just so happens that the law actually enforces this ethic in such a particular instance.

Let's assume that the hiring decision is going to take place in Massachusetts, and let's further assume that the current ballot initiative to make marijuana a civil rather than criminal offense, punishable by fine rather than jail time, actually passes. Possession and personal use of marijuana is no longer a felony in Massachusetts. It's legality is the same as speeding on the highway. Now is it still perfectly ethical in your view to discriminate based on marijuana usage?
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Re: Caught out on Facebook - Another One

Postby Intercept » Wed Oct 29, 2008 2:25 am UTC

Yes, because it could cause work performance issues. That's all that matters. I personally wouldn't care, but a known pot smoker is more likely to come to work high isn't he? I'm talking about ethics too. You're comparing ethnicity to choosing to do drugs. The latter actually says something about the person.
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Re: Caught out on Facebook - Another One

Postby Princess Marzipan » Wed Oct 29, 2008 2:28 am UTC

Intercept wrote:Yes, because it could cause work performance issues. That's all that matters. I personally wouldn't care, but a known pot smoker is more likely to come to work high isn't he? I'm talking about ethics too. You're comparing ethnicity to choosing to do drugs. The latter actually says something about the person.


Not everyone who uses drugs strives to be under those drugs' effects all the gorram time. It is possible to use marijuana without going to work high, and without that usage affecting your job performance - much in the same way it's possible to drink alcohol without going to work drunk, and without that usage affecting your job performance. Your argument has no logical basis here.
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Re: Caught out on Facebook - Another One

Postby Intercept » Wed Oct 29, 2008 2:43 am UTC

Nougatrocity wrote:
Intercept wrote:Yes, because it could cause work performance issues. That's all that matters. I personally wouldn't care, but a known pot smoker is more likely to come to work high isn't he? I'm talking about ethics too. You're comparing ethnicity to choosing to do drugs. The latter actually says something about the person.


Not everyone who uses drugs strives to be under those drugs' effects all the gorram time. It is possible to use marijuana without going to work high, and without that usage affecting your job performance - much in the same way it's possible to drink alcohol without going to work drunk, and without that usage affecting your job performance. Your argument has no logical basis here.


I'm not saying that at all. Who do you think is more likely to show up at work completely stoned though? Your argument has no logical basis. Potential for bad things to happen is a logical criterion to consider when deciding who to hire.
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Re: Caught out on Facebook - Another One

Postby Princess Marzipan » Wed Oct 29, 2008 2:45 am UTC

Intercept wrote:I'm not saying that at all. Who do you think is more likely to show up at work completely stoned though? Your argument has no logical basis. Potential for bad things to happen is a logical criterion to consider when deciding who to hire.


Wow, you're right. Also, women are more likely to show up to work ovulating, or even worse, PREGNANT.
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Re: Caught out on Facebook - Another One

Postby Intercept » Wed Oct 29, 2008 3:01 am UTC

Nougatrocity wrote:
Intercept wrote:I'm not saying that at all. Who do you think is more likely to show up at work completely stoned though? Your argument has no logical basis. Potential for bad things to happen is a logical criterion to consider when deciding who to hire.


Wow, you're right. Also, women are more likely to show up to work ovulating, or even worse, PREGNANT.


Quit being facetious. You keep bringing up obviously unethical and completely illegal examples. Someone who willingly does something illegal that can impair their mental state reflects on their potential to show up to work willingly under a less than optimal condition, willingness to break the law, and the willingness to take risks. Most employers would not see that as a positive trait.
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Re: Caught out on Facebook - Another One

Postby clintonius » Wed Oct 29, 2008 3:03 am UTC

It really doesn't reflect their potential to show up late and/or under suboptimal conditions. Without evidence to back up your point, you can't assume someone who smokes pot is any more likely to do those things than someone who drinks alcohol.
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Re: Caught out on Facebook - Another One

Postby Intercept » Wed Oct 29, 2008 3:05 am UTC

clintonius wrote:It really doesn't reflect their potential to show up late and/or under suboptimal conditions. Without evidence to back up your point, you can't assume someone who smokes pot is any more likely to do those things than someone who drinks alcohol.


I can assume someone I know who smokes pot is more likely to than someone I know doesn't, or at the very least might not.
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