Social media posts lead to firing of Robinson Toyota employee

JACKSON, Tenn. — Can your social media posts affect your employment? A situation from this weekend is drawing attention to this issue.

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“It’s crazy that I even have to make a statement on it,” said Joseph Robinson, manager of Robinson Toyota.

Robinson says when he started getting messages about a now-former employee’s racist comments on a Facebook post, firing them was a “no brainer”.

“I was shocked,” Robinson said. “It was nothing for what we stand for. I knew right away that this person couldn’t be with us anymore.”

The comments have since been deleted, and due to legal reasons, we’ve chosen to not identify the person who wrote them. But, Robinson says it’s bad practice for any business owner to put up with this type of behavior.

“As a business, we’re here to provide a service to all of our customers, no matter their race,” Robinson said.

And how does this situation apply to you? We spoke with a local attorney who says businesses in Tennessee have the right to fire at will.

“As long as the employer is in a public business, that doesn’t discriminate against you because of race, creed, color or something along that line, they can hire and they can fire as they want,” said Attorney Mark Donahoe.

Freedom of speech does not apply to private businesses.

“Be really careful about what you post and how you say it, because it’s there forever,” Robinson said.

Robinson Toyota released a statement on Facebook following the incident.

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“We have been a local family-owned and operated business in West Tennessee for a quarter of a century, and it’s our stand that we must confront and eliminate racism. Robinson Toyota believes in ‘one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.'”

“That’s how we feel. That’s our stance. If anybody is against that, they’re against what we stand for, and they can’t stand alongside us,” Robinson said.

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