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C-store employees, watch what you say -- or type, that is! Employers can check in on your private life through popular networking sites such as the blog site, blogger.com; online diary, livejournal.com; online profile/networking site facebook.com; and the ubiquitous myspace.com.
Improper pictures or comments posted online can wind up on the wrong screens. Three Kwik Trip employees attending the University of Wisconsin-Platteville found out the hard way, when they were fired from the local Kwik Trip convenience store because of comments on a facebook.com page dedicated to the company, reported Royal Purple News.
Facebook is an online profiling site originally intended for high school and college age students to be "a social utility that connects you with the people around you," according to its Web site. Since its creation in the early 2000s, the site has expanded to include companies, creating the opportunity for bosses to peek into worker's private lives. Because of this, the Web site has come under fire with employers and privacy and First Amendment rights, the report stated.
According to the report, three Kwik Trip employees -- including Dena Harris and Danyl Curtis -- posted comments on a page dedicated to Kwik Trip employees. The page, according to Harris, covered topics including employees' complaints about their jobs and inconsiderate customers.
When CSNews Online investigated, it found comments by employees posted on the "I work at Kwik Trip" page such as "1.5 years of work and im about to shoot myself cuz of it."
"I think Kwik Trip heard about the page by creating an account, searching and checking up on its employees," Harris told the Purple News. "I don't really think that it was planned that they were hoping to find anything, but I guess they really didn't like what they found."
No employee has taken any legal action against the company, Harris believes. "There is no legal case. We're just hoping that things will settle down eventually," Harris told the paper. "However, we want as many people to hear about the whole situation to help warn them that these things can happen and to watch what you put online."
When students at the university found out the news, they considered boycotting the store, according to Curtis. But he admitted "but with such a big company and it being the main convenience store in town, a boycott is not going to affect Kwik Trip."
"Facebook is public now. People want to treat it as [if] it's a private thing, but it's public," said Curtis. "It's a wise idea to be careful of what you say online."
Curtis told the paper that he did not imagine the site could result in his firing.
"I think the situation was blown way out of proportion and that we were unfairly judged and punished," Harris said. "I believe that a warning, removing the site, formal apologies and even possibly suspension from work would be a sufficient punishment, not termination of employment."
A call to the corporate office was not returned before press time.
Kwik Trip is not the only convenience store which has employees on the site. Wawa has more than 500 employees on the site, in addition to numerous pages of subjects like "I don't have any money 'cause I spent it all at Wawa" and "All the Cool People Work at Wawa."
Sheetz has 471 employees with profiles on facebook.com, along with scores of pages like "Sheetz … could it be heaven on earth?"
7-Eleven has 248 site members and more than 20 pages dedicated to the company and its drink, the Slurpee.
CSNews has posted a blog on its Spare Change site dedicated to online profiles and the potential invasion of privacy and First Amendment Rights. Voice your opinion by clicking here.