Labour & Employment Law Blog

Flipping Off the President and How Public Behaviour Can Get You Fired

Zeilikman Law

Zeilikman Law

Flipping Off the President and How Public Behaviour Can Get You Fired

After getting fired for flipping off Trump’s motorcade last year, former government contractor, Juli Briskman, is suing her ex-employer. Briskman was riding her bike on a Saturday last October when she was photographed giving Trump the middle finger. Her face was not shown in photographs, but the image soon went viral with Briskman using it as her cover photo on Facebook. She claimed responsibility as the woman in the photo on social media and admitted the same to her employer, Akima LLC, a US government contracting firm. Briskman was soon fired for violating a “code of conduct policy”.

Albeit an American case, Canadians, too, have been fired from their respective jobs for negative press following public behaviour. In 2015, a Toronto FC fan made the news when he heckled a female reporter with misogynist remarks. He was subsequently fired from his high-paying Hydro One job. A year later, the infamous spectator who threw a beer can at an opposing player during a high-stakes Jays game was fired from his Postmedia job.

In all three cases, employees were fired from their jobs for their off-the-clock very public behaviour.

In Ontario, an employer can terminate an employee, given reasonable notice (or pay in lieu), for any reason, as long as it isn’t discriminatory or in violation of some statute. To fire an employee for cause, without notice or pay, an employer must have good reason to terminate. Employees found guilty of lying, stealing, falsifying records, breaching company policy or code of conduct, etc. could be terminated for cause.

In Juli Briskman’s case, her employer could fire her for cause for violating their code of conduct policy.

Employers should consider updating policies, and ensure staff are aware that any negative public and online behaviour could potentially affect their future employment.

As job hunters need to be conscious of their public and online presence when looking for work, those already employed should also be mindful. As representatives of the companies for which you work, any public display of negative behaviour or vulgarity could be seen as “bad press” that could potentially harm the reputation of your employer. Even something as seemingly simple, and, perhaps, justified, as flipping off your president could mean the end of your employment.

The above article is for general information purposes only, does not constitute legal advice or create a solicitor-client relationship. Because each case is unique and factually driven, if you have concerns with regard to the foregoing issues, please make an appointment with one of our lawyers or a qualified legal practitioner elsewhere. We represent clients in the Greater Toronto Area including Toronto, North York, Markham, Vaughan, Thornhill, Newmarket, Aurora, Brampton, Mississauga, Barrie, Ajax, Whitby, Pickering and Oshawa.

Legal Receptionist

Zeilikman Law is an employment law firm located in Vaughan, Ontario. We are looking to hire a legal receptionist to join our firm. Preference will be given to candidates who have experience working as a receptionist at another law firm.

Location: Vaughan, Ontario.

Start Date: Immediately.

Hours: Monday to Friday, 9 am to 5 pm. Full time. In-person only. This is not a remote work position.

Wages: 35,000 to 40,000 per year.

Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Manage our firm’s multi-line telephone system to receive incoming calls.  Screen incoming telephone call inquiries to determine the nature of the telephone call and provide standard information related to our legal services.  Take and deliver messages and route incoming telephone calls to the appropriate staff person.
  • Answer general inquiries coming from the firm’s social media and website email.
  • Welcome in-person visitors upon arrival.  Direct visitors to the appropriate staff person and / or office or boardroom.
  • Organize in-person visitor schedule to prevent overlap and multiple bookings.
  • Receive, sort, and distribute daily mail and deliveries.
  • Arrange for couriers.
  • Keep front reception, kitchenette area and boardroom tidy.
  • Perform various clerical duties such as filing, photocopying, and faxing on an as-needed basis.
  • Process client or other payments.
  • May be asked to run minor errands outside of office such as attending post office to arrange a courier or pick up mail.
  • May be asked to assist other law clerks or lawyers of the firm as required and as appropriate.
  • Any other basic administrative duties or tasks as deemed appropriate.

Required Skills:

  • Basic knowledge of general office procedures including filing, faxing, and printing and copying.
  • Basic word processing computer skills.
  • Proficient in receptionist and telephone practices, etiquette, and decorum.
  • Professional attitude and appearance.
  • Excellent organizational skills.
  • Positive customer service attitude is a must.
  • Must be able to maintain confidential and sensitive information.

Education and Experience:

  • Highschool diploma or equivalent.
  • 1 – 2 years’ experience in an office setting with an emphasis in accounting, reception or clerical work is required.   We would prefer experience in a law firm environment.

Applications for this position should be sent via email to jennifer@zeilikmanlaw.com. All applications should include a cover letter, resume and at least two references. Only successful candidates will be contacted.