There has been a lot in the news about employee comments on social media and the impact on the company and the fall out.

A great piece was in the New York Times magazine last week… How One Stupid Tweet Blew Up Justine Sacco’s Life. She is “known” for this tweet – “Going to Africa. Hope I don’t get AIDS. Just kidding. I’m white!” The storm created by this tweet (rightly so) was amazing and she, no surprise, lost her job.

There are many other examples to look at. Whether it’s comments about news events, long-held beliefs or a bad joke, an employee’s offensive posts on Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites can damage a company’s image and profits. If the comments are racist, homophobic, sexist or against a religious group, tolerating discriminatory comments puts an employer at risk for lawsuits and losing customers.

Employers must take disciplinary action when they learn about posts containing language attacking people for their race, sexual orientation, gender or religion. If the worker isn’t fired, employers can be sued under federal and state anti-discrimination laws for allowing a hostile environment to exist in their companies.

Is your incident management and communications team ready for such a fall out? This is a great topic for an exercise, training and an awareness campaign.