Face Book Issue
I need some advice about employees posting on Face Book.
First, I have deliberately not visited Face Book to view any of the comments that were revealed to me. I want to know what I may be getting into first.
As some of you know I am the H/R Captain of an emergency service organization. We have a unit that everyone strives (fights) to get on. It carries with it some amount of (perceived) prestige and signifies a high level of training and skill. In reality that may not always be true but it is enough that the members think that way. We have females here in our department and they do their job like anyone else. However there is an undercurrent that one female should not be utilized on this unit. The officer has made a decision that she is adequately qualified to be used and it is the officer's decision. So now we have some of our male members carrying on a complaint forum on Face Book against this female being used on this unit. I do not know but have to assume that as the complaint on Face Book gains popularity and momentum that the attitudes displayed there will if not already, spill into how this employee will be treated while riding the unit.
Most of the females and even the minorities that have been hired in this department, I hired. With the full cooperation of the Chief the department has worked very hard to eliminate discrimination (overt or covert) and to eliminate any glass ceiling. I do not know if the female employee is aware of the Face Book complaints.
What can or should I do if anything? I do not want to wait until this becomes a full blown issue. I am not concerned about the complainers free speech, period. I am concerned about if they have **protected speech** rights as public employees to carry on such impactive discussion against a protected class. What may the deparment's liabilities become?
This Face Book thing is new to me and I know there is not a lot of case law out there for this subject. What would best practice tell me to do? What would you do?