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Threatened with Legal Action after Unfriending Someone on Facebook

Last month Dr. Christine Blasey Ford testified before the senate judiciary committee regarding her sexual assault when she was younger. I believe her. I admire her courage in coming forward. On Facebook, I shared stories and memes expressing my support for her and all women struggling with trauma.

A guy I was friends with on Facebook did not share my support of women and used the comment section to say so. I was actually grateful for his demeaning response because it taught me I would benefit from no longer seeing his comments and posts on my Facebook newsfeed.

Unfriend!

Problem solved. Or so I thought…

Apparently I was not the only person who did not appreciate what he was saying on the internet. Someone saw what he posted in the comments and chose to inform his employer. It seems his employer gave credence to the complaint and reprimanded him in some way. The only reason I am aware of the complaint against him is because of the following message that he sent to me 2 days later:

Guy on Facebook:Β “I’m glad to see you deleted me becasue I was about to do the same to you. I do want you to know that your actions or your friends actions of calling my work to report something I posted on a social media site where I’m free to Express my 1st amendment rights could have major repercussions on my employment or advancement through the company. If that does occur I will be taking legal action against anyone involved in calling my corporate office all phone records have been recorded and I’m not taking this issue lightly. If you cant handle other people’s words and opinions you should not be part of a social media website.”

This exchange occurred two weeks ago and I am still dumbfounded that he chose this as his response to being reprimanded at work for things he said on Facebook. I was happy just unfriending him. I whole heartedly support whoever filed the initial complaint – but I was satisfied with simply not associating with him anymore.

His threat stuck with me though. The threat itself is laughable; I know this. The troubling part is that he thought to make the threat in the first place. Two days later I even gave him the opportunity to apologize or at least back track on his threat.

He chose instead to double down.

That was disappointing. If he had apologized or at least made some excuse of “I was drunk” or “I shouldn’t have been sending messages when I was angry” – basically anything other than doubling down on his threat – I would have forgotten all about the incident and moved on with my life.

These past few weeks though – his threat has been eating away at me. I know he has no legal grounds but I have to wonder – who else has he threatened / will threaten with legal action or some other retaliation? I am in a position to defend myself if I need to – but what about the next person? What about the next innocent bystander that he decides to threaten because he is facing a consequence for something that he said/did?

He is a manager for an appliance store. He is in a position of authority over others. He has the potential to seriously impact the lives of those working beneath him. Is this how he handles complaints? Is this the type of work environment he fosters? If I say nothing I am siding with him. If I say nothing I am teaching him that threats are the solution. If I say nothing I am emboldening him to do it again to someone else – to someone who does not have the courage or resources to stand up to him.

First thing this morning – I forwarded the messages he sent to me to his employer.

He may not have a legal case against me for unfriending him or forwarding a message he sent me- but he can still hurt me and Functional Rustic. I am keenly aware of this. I know that by doing the right thing, standing up for myself and others, I am inviting him to retaliate. Once he figures out he can’t sue he will want to lash out even more.

I hope he doesn’t. I’ve known him for 15 years – there is a reason we were friends in the first place. I’ve always known him to be a descent guy. The fact that I saw him as a descent guy makes all of this so much harder. I’m not trying to ruin his life. I’m not trying to destroy his career.

But here is the thing – I’m not responsible for his life. I’m not responsible for his actions. I’m not responsible for his words. I’m not responsible for the actions of his employer. I’m not responsible for the consequences of his actions.

I am responsible for my actions, my words, my life. I choose my destiny. I choose standing up to intimidation instead of backing down. I choose confronting the things that could hurt me instead of avoiding them. I choose to defend my boundaries and no longer permit violations.

I choose me.

I believe in me.

Just as I stand with Dr. Christine Blasey Ford – I also stand, proudly, by myself. I hold my head high today knowing my actions properly reflect my character. I hold my head high today knowing I advocated for me. I hold my head high today knowing I faced my fears. I hold my head high today knowing that someone may read my story and feel empowered to do the same for themselves.

I don’t know what the future holds or how all of this will play out but, I know I am ready, willing and capable to do whatever it takes to live the life I want and become the person I want to be.

Chin up princess or the crown slips.

Fear is a reaction. Courage is a decision.

For what its worth it is never too late to be whoever you want to be....Exaine what you tolerate.

Wrong is wrong, even if everyone is doing it. Right is right, even if no one is doing it.Praying for the woman I will be in 5 years

Speak with honesty. think with sincerity

Start over, my darling. Be brave enough to find the life....

She need a hero so that is what she became

 

Written by Sarah Palmer – Owner, Functional Rustic

 

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3 thoughts on “Threatened with Legal Action after Unfriending Someone on Facebook

  1. Please keep us apprised of what happens down the road – I don’t understand him taking such an attitude against you either after all these years. Sometimes the use of social media is going overboard anymore – when you read the comments in crime site forums on Facebook or a news story … people would never say to your face what they feel is okay to post on social media.

  2. I will definitely keep you updated. Part of posting the blog was a pre-emptive defense against any moves he makes against the website or my social media accounts.
    I really hope nothing more becomes of this. I went out of my way not to use his name and I would really like to keep it that way.

    Linda, don’t you work for a law firm that deals with employment disputes? Have you seen someone that was in his position seek legal counsel? My lawyer friends just laughed, “umm, that’s not how the first amendment works.” Ha.

  3. We do deal with employment disputes but have never gotten into the First Amendment issues. We had a matter where employees posted disparaging remarks on Facebook about their colleagues and supervisors, but the issue there was more the fact that they were on work time and on their personal social media accounts – not on the employer’s computer, but on their cellphone which was prohibited during their work hours. I have not seen any matters where people lost their job for posting their opinions on Facebook. We are more about what they do during the course of their work day. There was a case a few months ago with a City employee who posted political views and was terminated and also a Detroit cop a few weeks ago who posted disparaging remarks about rounding up people on his shift. But in this case, both employees were terminated and I don’t think I have seen anything in the news about them seeking to get their job back They probably realize they have made a mistake and should move on. Hopefully it doesn’t progress any further than harsh words on social media … good luck with this Sarah.

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