Spectrum Health employees fired over Facebook picture

From WZZM, ABC Channel 13 in Grand Rapids, MI, With Video

GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) — Several employees at Spectrum Health have been terminated over a picture posted on Facebook.

A source tells WZZM 13 News that an off-duty employee was in the emergency room when he saw an attractive female. He took a picture of her back side and posted it on Facebook. His message read, “I like what I like.” The woman was not identified and her face could not be seen.

Danielle Leek teaches social media at Grand Valley State University. She says people have to be careful about what they post, even if the person isn’t named. “Even though that might seem irrelevant to us, it can still be identifying to other people, especially to audiences on social media.”

The employee who posted the picture was fired and so was everyone that liked it.

On Thursday, Spectrum would only say that it “Took appropriate action.”

Spectrum wouldn’t provide WZZM 13 with a copy of its social media policies, but we found it online. There were several guidelines, including upholding Spectrum’s standards. The policy says that any violations of these standards could result in disciplinary action up to, and including, termination. It goes on to say that it’s unacceptable to use images that are offensive or in poor taste. Employees also have to comply with HIPAA regulations. That’s the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act that protects patient information.

The Spectrum source tells WZZM that it was another employee who notified administrators about the posting.

Leek says it’s a lesson for all; when it comes to social media, be careful what you say and always err on the side of caution.

Among those who were fired include a registrar, a physician’s assistant, and an emergency room doctor. Not all were direct employees of Spectrum; some worked for a company that provided employees to the hospital.

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