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Shirtless Chili's Worker Fired Over Facebook Photos

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By Daniel Taylor, Esq. on October 21, 2014 9:40 AM

A worker at a Florida Chili's restaurant was fired after posting a series of shirtless pictures of himself in the restaurant's kitchen on Facebook.

The pictures, posted by a man calling himself Justin Speekz on a publicly visible Facebook profile, were labeled "Sexy Cooks of Chili's," reports Tampa's WFTS-TV. The pictures were discovered on Facebook by a customer of the restaurant.

Florida's Department of Business and Professional Regulation, which regulates restaurants, said there did not appear to be any violations in the photos, as no food was being prepared at the time they were taken; the employee was nonetheless terminated.

What lessons can employers learn from this latest employee social media stunt?

1. Warn Employees That Online Posts Can Get Them Fired.

Employees may believe that what they post on their personal social media profiles won't affect their job. Making it clear to employees that social media posts that violate company policy, violate a non-disclosure agreement, or otherwise make your business look bad can lead to their termination will discourage the public sharing of possibly embarrassing or damaging posts or pictures like the ones in this incident.

2. Monitor Your Business' Online Presence.

Unfortunately this isn't the first time employee kitchen pranks posted online have brought unwanted attention to a restaurant. Last year, a picture of a Taco Bell employee licking a stack of taco shells was posted on Facebook, causing many to question the company's food safety practices. By monitoring not only your company's online presence but your employees' as well, you may be able to quash incidents before they become Internet sensations.

3. Encourage Your Customers to Contact You With Any Issues.

In this case, the photos were discovered by a concerned customer, allowing the restaurant to take action before similar, and potentially more damaging, photos or actions were taken by employees. By maintaining an open line of communication with customers through social media, your company's website, or via old fashioned face-to-face contact, you may be able to learn of issues affecting your business from your customers and not from the local news.

For the Chili's restaurant in question, it seems the shirtless worker's pics may have been an isolated incident. After the photos were made public, the restaurant passed a surprise inspection with no critical violations, WFTS-TV reports.

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