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Real-World Consequences of Social Networking Posts 451

Posted by kdawson
from the world-is-watching dept.
gbulmash sends in a classic Streisand Effect story of a Chicago landlord suing a tenant over a tweet complaining of mold in her apartment. The landlord claims that the tweet caused $50,000 damage to their reputation. If it didn't, then the fallout from their own ill-advised lawsuit surely will. The woman's Twitter account is now gone (possibly on advice of counsel), but the tweet that started it all lives on. And in a similar vein, reader levicivita notes a firing over a political comment on a Facebook page. "Lee Landor, who had been the deputy press secretary to Manhattan Borough President Scott M. Stringer since May, posted comments on her Facebook page criticizing Mr. Gates [Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr.] and the president, whom she referred to at one point as 'O-dumb-a.' ... The borough president has accepted Ms. Landor's resignation, effective immediately."
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Real-World Consequences of Social Networking Posts

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 28, 2009 @01:52PM (#28855647)

    before all these social networking rantings came through to haunt/hurt us in real life....folks dont seem to understand that the internet is a serious place with actions having far reaching effects

    • by TopShelf (92521) on Tuesday July 28, 2009 @02:13PM (#28856011) Homepage Journal

      This reads much like articles we've seen for several years, just with Twitter substituted for email/blog/message board post.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 28, 2009 @02:21PM (#28856155)
      Horizon Realty is a piece of shit company who sues everyone without thinking and has moldy apartments.
      • by Forge (2456)
        And now Taco will be sued.

        After all everyone knows that he and Cowboy Neal are the only two Anonymous Cowards on SlashDot and this particular post has better spelling than Cowboy Neal's norm.

        My advise to Slashdoters in the Chicago region. Start scraping together what cash you can. A lot of the properties managed by this moronic company will be on the market soon. Cheap.

        On a side note, We have a residential facility named Horizon in Jamaica. [wikimapia.org]
      • by Danga (307709) on Tuesday July 28, 2009 @03:59PM (#28857823)

        Horizon Realty is a piece of shit company who sues everyone without thinking and has moldy apartments.

        I hope Horizon goes out of business. I used to rent an apartment from them and when I moved in I had them clearly state in the lease what utilities I was responsible for (I mainly just wanted to know exactly what util companies I was going to need to contact and setup accounts for but also wanted to have it in writing) they wrote in pen "tenant is only responsible for electricity, cable tv, and water utilities" right on the lease. Well then at move out time I get a bill sent to me from the gas company saying I owe a whole years worth of gas bills, I was like WHAT???

        Apparently the water heater was the only gas appliance in the whole apartment and since I did not have access to it and also because I had an electric stove/oven and steam heat I did not have any idea there was a gas appliance at all. Also, the gas bill sent to me was in MY NAME and I NEVER was notified any account was setup in the first place, the only way the gas company could have gotten that information was by contacting Horizon Management (and I am pretty sure setting a utility account up in someones name without them knowing is illegal but I don't know for sure).

        Anyway, I contacted the manager and was told since the fine print says tenant is responsible for all individually metered utils that it was my problem, they didnt care they had written clearly I was only responsible for the 3 utils I mentioned above. It was obvious they screwed up and then when they started getting the gas bills instead of notifying me they waited until the end of the year and THEN signed me up for a gas account, this way they wouldn't have to deal with a pissed off/annoyed renter all year long and I am sure they also figured since most students leave town at the end of the year that I wouldn't have time to deal with it. The bill was only about $300 or something but I still was curious what my legal standing was so I called a friend who was a lawyer and after explaining everything he said I would probably win in court if I took it there but that would cost more than just paying the damn gas bill.

        I was so pissed that a company would treat customers, especially poor college students, like that, having to pay a $300 bill out of the blue was pretty hard since my campus job only paid $7/hour. They should have just been civil and HONEST with me and after they recieved the first gas bill from the company (yes, they were getting the bills the whole year) they should have notified me that they screwed up and I would have been annoyed but it would not have been a huge deal and then I could have budgeted to pay the bill monthly. Instead I got stuck with a suprise $300 at the end of the year.

        So thanks Horizon, I hope your shady business practices and sue first, ask questions later policy results in you going out of business for good. EVERYONE IN THE CHICAGO AREA STAY AWAY FROM HORIZON MANAGEMENT PROPERTIES OR YOU MAY EXPERIENCE SOMETHING SIMILAR TO WHAT I DID!

        Everything I stated is true, so just try and sue me for libel you bastards.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      In other words, the internet is serious bizness.

    • by Col. Panic (90528) on Tuesday July 28, 2009 @02:28PM (#28856259) Homepage Journal

      my boss has no idea who Col. Panic is, nor does he know who anonymous coward is, for that matter

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by kent_eh (543303)
        Yup.
        As far as I know, no one that I have ever met face-to-face is aware of my username at various online forums.

        Also, I avoid making posts that would connect my username with my employer, or my family.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by mh1997 (1065630)

        my boss has no idea who Col. Panic is, nor does he know who anonymous coward is, for that matter

        If you are Mike Beard, 30 yr. old from Canada, then I'd change your myspace page. If not, it sucks to be Mike Beard because he has the same userid on myspace that you have on /.

    • by yog (19073) * on Tuesday July 28, 2009 @02:37PM (#28856377) Homepage Journal
      What about letters to the editor? What about traditional magazine articles, newspaper columns, and books? People for centuries have been publishing their opinions and ideas and we have a whole body of laws to deal with the consequences--slander (calumny, in the old days), truth in reporting, copyrights, and so forth. Then, we also have 30 years of usenet and website publishing which preceded the Facebook/Myspace/Twitter model. Society seems to have adapted pretty well to this technology.

      There is nothing about social networking to distinguish it from previous publishing modalities except that it is faster and easier to publish something far and wide than it ever was before. It's accelerated information distribution, and that's what society is reacting to.

      If a tenant can complain about a landlord in a matter of seconds and have an audience of hundreds of thousands, the landlord will be more upset than if the tenant just mentions it to her friends at the golf course or knitting circle or watering hole. However, nothing particularly revolutionary is happening.

      "We're a sue first, ask questions later kind of an organization". That sums it up. It's just another lawsuit-happy guy who ought to get his wrist slapped for a frivolous case, unless the defendant rolls over and pays some symbolic fine, which is likely to happen, a la RIAA.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Abcd1234 (188840)

        There is nothing about social networking to distinguish it from previous publishing modalities except that it is faster and easier to publish something far and wide than it ever was before.

        So, there's no difference, in the same way that the printing press was really just a minor improvement over scribes. Yup, no big deal at all!

  • This is stupid (Score:5, Insightful)

    by EagleEye101 (834633) on Tuesday July 28, 2009 @01:52PM (#28855657)
    I dont blame the lady for complaining. Mold is dangerous stuff and a lot of landlords dont care. My sister bought a house with undisclosed mold (illegal here in maryland) and it looks like the realitor is going to get away with it because shes a teacher who just invested her money into a house so she can not afford legal fees.These are sketchy people and deserve to be put in a bad light.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      Sadly, this isn't illegal in Illinois. We got lucky and our home inspector caught it before we got to far in the process. Moral of the story - get a home inspector that comes highly recommended and is very thorough.
      • Re:This is stupid (Score:4, Informative)

        by sumdumass (711423) on Tuesday July 28, 2009 @02:38PM (#28856401) Journal

        IF the mold wasn't known, I doubt anyone state could enforce penalties.

        Generally, when you buy a house, you request a full and complete disclosure from the seller. This is where you list everything you know that could be considered wrong and effect any aspect of the sale. If you can prove they knew about it and failed to disclose it, then you can pretty much recoup damages because of their failure to disclose. However, some people don't know there is mold and therefore can't be held to it. This is where a competent inspector is a good idea.

        And when checking out your inspector, find out what kind of insurance and so on they have. Often if the inspector misses something, they can be made to pay (their insurance) for their lack of thoroughness. This isn't screwing the inspector or being lawsuit happy as it may sound either. You paid them to disclose anything and everything about the house and used their professional findings as a basis for your decision for a major purchase.

      • by Z00L00K (682162)

        And make sure that the contract contains clauses about hidden faults that can't be easily detected.

        Maybe it's also time to strengthen the freedom of speech a bit. It must be possible to vent your opinions of things without risk being harassed by neither government nor companies.

        As long as it isn't false accusations it should never have to go to court.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Radtastic (671622)
      Here's the rub: The problem is, EVERY house has some amount of mold, and every person has different tolerances to it (as well as other allergens.) At what point is the combination of mold amount + tenant sensitivity become landlord liability?

      Sure, 1 inch think black-mold on every wall is a pretty clear issue. But what about some mildew in the bathroom because the tenant never cleans it?

      I'm not siding with the landlord here, just noting that mold issues are wide ranging.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ivan256 (17499)

      Mold disclosure laws may actually make the problem worse. There's even more incentive to cover-up a mold problem, since the occurrence of mold once will end up on-file and hurts the value of the home forever. So a homeowner is more likely to do a crappy cover-up job and sell the house than get the issue properly taken care of.

      Not only that, but such laws generally cover all kinds of mold, and most mold is essentially harmless to the majority of people.

  • frist psot (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    First post. posting AC to prevent Real-World Consequences.
  • Free speech (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DaveV1.0 (203135) on Tuesday July 28, 2009 @01:53PM (#28855675) Journal

    We have it, but there are consequences for it. Sadly, the consequences seem to be getting out of hand.

    • Re:Free speech (Score:5, Informative)

      by mcgrew (92797) on Tuesday July 28, 2009 @02:08PM (#28855947) Homepage Journal

      Too bad there are no consequences for posting a story like this and linking to an opinion piece on some site nobody's ever heard of, when you could as easily link a real newspaper in the city it happened in, like the Chicago Tribune. Landlord sues Uptown tenant for Twitter post [chicagobreakingnews.com].

      BAD submission. Bad bad bad. No cookie for you!

      • Interestingly, attempting to load that link crashes my version of firefox - whether due to bad site design or a nasty advertisment, I don't know. But I can see why the submitter would have avoided that link if they had a similar problem with the site.

      • Re:Free speech (Score:5, Interesting)

        by jmitchel!jmitchel.co (254506) on Tuesday July 28, 2009 @03:10PM (#28857019)
        Actually - the Sun-Times article has a quote that I'd say is way more damaging than the accusation: Tweet about apartment mold draws lawsuit [suntimes.com]:
        He said that while she moved out recently, the company never had a conversation about the post and never asked her to take it down.
        "We're a sue first, ask questions later kind of an organization," [italics mine] he said, noting that the company manages 1,500 apartments in Chicago and has a good reputation it wants to preserve.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by EvilBudMan (588716)

          --"We're a sue first, ask questions later kind of an organization," [italics mine] he said, noting that the company manages 1,500 apartments in Chicago and has a good reputation it wants to preserve.--

          Stupid, very stupid, nobody will ever want to rent off of them again. Even though the mold problem might be real or it might not and not all house mold is dangerous. The inner stuff is usually metal studs in an apartment complex and I know that can't mold much. If she didn't complain directly to the company fi

    • Re:Free speech (Score:5, Insightful)

      by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Tuesday July 28, 2009 @02:14PM (#28856047) Journal
      I share your concern about the rise in consequences for speech(in particular, given the ease with which technology lets us retain information indefinitely. Having an excellent record of exactly what you said 10 or 15 years ago hanging over you is a pretty unnerving prospect, particularly given the period of youthful stupidity that people commonly go through.)

      That said, I have a very hard time sympathising with a Press Secretary who gets fired for mouthing off on controversial issues. The whole point of the "press secretary" job is managing media relations and generally smoothing PR feathers for whoever hired you. Having highly visible and controversial opinions, particularly if they oppose that of the person you are doing media relations for, seems an obvious contradiction. I'd be much more concerned if somebody with a more or less apolitical job were being axed for political reasons.
  • Landlord is a moron (Score:5, Informative)

    by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Tuesday July 28, 2009 @01:53PM (#28855685)

    Only possible legit suit you could have is one for libel. Ok well libel requires three things:

    1) That the respondent made a false statement. Truth is the ultimate defense against libel. If there was, in fact, mold in the apartment then the landlord is done right here. Doesn't matter how damaging the statement was, if it is true there is fuck all you can do.

    2) That the respondent knew the statement was false. If you make a false statement, but can show you believed it to be true, that can get you off the hook for libel.

    3) That the statement was made with the intent of causing harm. If you make a false statement as a joke, that's not libel, you have to intend to cause harm.

    That's what it requires, has to be something false, you had to know it was false, and you had to say it anyway hoping to harm your target. If it was true, well tough shit.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Only possible legit suit you could have is one for libel.

      Did you RTFA? The landlord *is* suing for libel; it says so right in there.

      Of course you're correct about truth being an absolute defense against libel in the USA, but why does everyone assume that the claim is actually true? It might be, it might not - we don't know.

      It seems a bit stupid on the part of the landlord to sue over a post that apparently got read by about 20 people at most, but on the other hand, if it really IS untrue, I can also see why they wouldn't want for it to stay online where it just m

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        True claim or not, the landlord may figure that using lawyers to intimidate their tenant into silence might be worth a try. What good is the truth if you cannot afford a lawyer of your own to defend yourself against liars?
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Rob the Bold (788862)

          True claim or not, the landlord may figure that using lawyers to intimidate their tenant into silence might be worth a try. What good is the truth if you cannot afford a lawyer of your own to defend yourself against liars?

          Something tells me the landlord figured wrong here.

        • by Jaysyn (203771)

          This sounds like a job for the EFF or ACLU.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by b4upoo (166390)

      Usually truth is a potent defense but I wouldn't count on it in this case. Telling a story far and wide, knowing that it would do harm, without some cause to spread the story may be seen as a deliberately savage attack. If the person had warned someone who was about to rent the unit then it is another issue. Keep in mind that there is a difference in remarking that you have mold in your apartment and saying that all the apartments have mold. That may be an untrue statement. Lack of being specific i

    • by mcgrew (92797)

      The landlord is a company, not a person: Horizon Realty. And according to the Chicago Tribune, they're suing for just that: Libel.

    • by sugarmotor (621907) on Tuesday July 28, 2009 @02:15PM (#28856061) Homepage

      I think you got it upside-down and inside-out.

      The twitter entry actually talks about mold in the apartment only indirectly. However it talks directly about the Horizon organization, at least according to http://mashable.com/2009/07/28/woman-sued-tweet/ [mashable.com]

      "Who said sleeping in a moldy apartment was bad for you? [h] realty thinks itâ(TM)s okay."

      So that would be difficult to prove to be true, or not?

      Stephan

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Jaysyn (203771)

        Sounds like sarcasm to me. I think she'll be just fine. The realty company on the other hand is probably in for a world of shit.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Ironica (124657)

      Only possible legit suit you could have is one for libel. Ok well libel requires three things:

      1) That the respondent made a false statement. Truth is the ultimate defense against libel. If there was, in fact, mold in the apartment then the landlord is done right here.

      No, not really... because the post claimed that Horizon Realty thinks it's ok [to sleep in a moldy apartment]. So, if there was a complaint about mold (the mold doesn't even have to be there, because her post didn't claim there was any), and Horizon Realty was dismissive of the complaint because they felt there was no harm to mold, then she's got the truth defense.

    • Since the actual post was:

      "Who said sleeping in a moldy apartment was bad for you? Horizon realty thinks it's okay"

      I think it is pretty easy to pass those 3 tests you list. Her claim is that Horizon thinks it is okay to sleep in a moldy apartment. Now, her apartment may have mold, but just because Horizon doesn't believe her doesn't mean they think it is okay to sleep in a moldy apartment.
      She is claiming to know something she can't know (a lie), and the only reason to say such a thing is to cause harm.

    • 2) That the respondent knew the statement was false. If you make a false statement, but can show you believed it to be true, that can get you off the hook for libel.

      It only goes to the question of malice.

      Your belief must be "reasonable." Which more or less boils down to the consensus opinion of the jury.

      3) That the statement was made with the intent of causing harm. If you make a false statement as a joke, that's not libel, you have to intend to cause harm.

      The law of torts isn't about what you intended t

  • first amendment (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    So here's what I don't get (and maybe a lawyer or wannabe-lawyer can explain it to me). We have the first amendment which protects us from government interference in speech. If I criticize a government official or policy the government is not allowed to retaliate in any way. Yet for some reason.... the private sector can? We've seen this before (Scientology, Streisand, etc.), and it never fails to boggle my mind that what the constitution protects from government interference, it doesn't protect from privat

    • Re:first amendment (Score:5, Insightful)

      by CannonballHead (842625) on Tuesday July 28, 2009 @02:04PM (#28855883)

      Why shouldn't it? I don't feel that I should be allowed to let you say whatever you want about me... let's say I run a small business that is completely built on trust and honesty. Why should you be allowed to publish slander and libel all you want, under the guise of the first amendment? It hurts my reputation, it hurts my ability to do business, etc. In fact, if you were to NOT allow me to sue you for libel/slander, all you'd be doing is protecting the ability of the rich (read: ability to publish widely due to wealth) to completely put me out of business with utter lies and nonsense. I think I should be allowed to protect myself.

    • Re:first amendment (Score:5, Insightful)

      by thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) <marc...paradise@@@gmail...com> on Tuesday July 28, 2009 @02:13PM (#28856017) Homepage Journal

      , and it never fails to boggle my mind that what the constitution protects from government interference, it doesn't protect from private sector lawyers.

      Because the first amendment is there to protect us from the government, not from each other. Go figure.

    • by zehaeva (1136559)

      "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

      That's the 1st Amendment, the actual text of it. It says nothing about the private sector. The Constitution protects us from the government. It is what outlines government and sets up the framework for the government, not the private sect

  • by Hmmm2000 (1146723) * on Tuesday July 28, 2009 @01:54PM (#28855717)
    Any time you post something to any social networking site, you should imagine yourself on a podium in giving a presentation in front of millions of people. If you would be embarrassed to say it on stage, don't post it, because they are effectively the same thing now.
  • (person) complains about (whatever) on (new media), gets sued by (vendor)

    I, for one, look forward to the first formulaic article about telepathy...

  • Streisand Effect (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Drakkenmensch (1255800) on Tuesday July 28, 2009 @01:56PM (#28855737)
    If he hadn't sued her and let the story die of its own, how many people would have heard about that mold? 10? 5? So little that a clumsy shop teacher still would have enough fingers left to count them all? Instead, the whole of slashdot knows about it now!
    • What is the actual likelihood of the Streisand Effect happening though? How many cases of censorship are successful and never heard of?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 28, 2009 @01:56PM (#28855749)

    Programmer and account manager for a small consultancy firm.

    Went on to twitter and said that I got a user-error and for the program I was administering to unfuck itself.

    Apparently the parent company didnt have a twitter presence but was having people search / spy. It got back to my company and viola - collecting unemployment.

    Since then I have locked down my online profile to a MUCH greater degree - and as such im posting this anon ;)

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by PRMan (959735)

      Sounds like a good way to get rid of co-workers you don't like anonymously...

      What's to stop somebody making a Twitter account in someone else's name and then Tweeting about their struggles at work and criticizing their boss and calling him an idiot?

      Boom! Person you hate just got fired...

  • Fail (Score:3, Insightful)

    by thisnamestoolong (1584383) on Tuesday July 28, 2009 @01:59PM (#28855783)
    I would love to see this blow up in the landlord's face -- in the process of investigating the libel claim they will certainly need to check the apartment for mold. If it can be shown that there is mold in the apartment and the landlord was notified and did nothing, I am thinking that he could be in some trouble, but IANAL. That would be, for my money, the best way that this could possibly turn out.
    • Landlording (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Okian Warrior (537106)

      As an ex-landlord, I view the situation with a measure of caution.

      In my experience as a landlord, most problems occur as a direct result of actions taken by the tenants. In this case, spilling water and not immediately cleaning it up will cause mold. This happens because the tenants don't "own" the property they are living in. Cleaning up requires effort, and there's no incentive on the part of the tenants to do this.

      To be fair, it may have been caused by the previous tenants, and so it's not the current te

  • Unbelievable (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Svenne (117693) on Tuesday July 28, 2009 @01:59PM (#28855799) Homepage

    When will people learn that putting something on the web is not the same as writing it down in your own personal diary?

    Really, it's not that hard.

  • So? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by CannonballHead (842625) on Tuesday July 28, 2009 @02:00PM (#28855811)

    I see no issue with this at all... in neither case.

    1. The tweet is a publically "published" media outlet, so to speak. It should be treated as such. Just because you didn't print it in a newspaper doesn't mean you are immune from libel charges. IS it libel? That is what the lawsuit is for and the courts should decide. IMO, it's not libel, but I don't know if her apartment was actually moldy or not.

    2. The political FB post should be valid grounds for firing, too. If I gave out company "secrets" or confidential material on FB, I'd get fired. Duh. If I am working in a political office and make a political comment in a public media outlet, I should be held accountable for what I said. If that means my boss wants me to resign because of the comment, then I don't see how FB is the culprit. If anything, it's the comment that should be argued about, not the particular outlet chosen (public bulletin board, flyer at library, Facebook post, tweet, etc). Facebook and Twitter are not private and secure messaging systems.

    • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

      The political FB post should be valid grounds for firing, too. If I gave out company "secrets" or confidential material on FB, I'd get fired. Duh.

      I'm not sure how big of a secret Obama being "dumb" is. Some of us had that figured out for a while now.

      • Point was not that it necessarily had anything to do with Obama. Point was that when hired by certain entities (individuals or companies), there are almost always things you simply are not allowed to speak of publically. When you're a PR person for a political figure, you should probably avoid making public political statements if you want to keep your job. Facebook (and, for that matter, Twitter, blogs, etc) are basically public.
  • by girlintraining (1395911) on Tuesday July 28, 2009 @02:02PM (#28855839)

    ...a Chicago landlord suing a tenant over a tweet complaining of mold in her apartment.

    Was there mold? Because if there was, it's perfectly legal and the landlord can shove those papers right where the sun don't shine, and she might be able to file a countersuit and win.

    The aide, Lee Landor, who had been the deputy press secretary to the Manhattan borough president, Scott M. Stringer, since May, posted comments on her Facebook page criticizing Mr. Gates and the president, whom she referred to at one point as "O-dumb-a."

    If these comments were made public for anyone to view, then they might have something -- a press secretary should know better. If this was something posted privately to her friends and word leaked out, then I would say she excercised poor judgment -- but her employer did worse by firing her over it instead of a reprimand. People make mistakes -- Good managers understand that and work to correct the behavior. Bad managers paper over their own asses, and wind up costing their company/organization both human resources and morale. Legally, however, in the United States most states are "at will" employment, which basically means you have no rights whatsoever -- you can be fired for almost any reason, or none at all, without any recourse. This is one of the problems (some would say benefits) of living in the only first world country that lacks a strong labour party.

    On a different note -- it's amazing how petty most people are. For example, I think you are a pompous bastard child of a whore. Curiously, I have no idea who you (the reader) are, but nevertheless, someone, somewhere, will be offended. Apparently, when people go online, they forget the social etiquette lessons they learned in grade school -- namely to ignore bullies, loud-mouths, and to have a thick skin, because there are not enough bullets in the world to kill every assh0le you're going to meet.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      When my old slumlord landlord in NYC, name of Mark Scharfman wanted us out so he could raise the rent $2000
      he had us in court for every little thing. Oh, and if you are in new york city don't rent from Mark Scharfman or
      Beach Lane Management. They will lie to you, rip you off, and are other wise shifty individuals.

      Posting ANON !!!!!!

    • by evanbd (210358) on Tuesday July 28, 2009 @02:15PM (#28856051)

      Legally, however, in the United States most states are "at will" employment, which basically means you have no rights whatsoever -- you can be fired for almost any reason, or none at all, without any recourse.

      Not so. At will employment means you can be fired (or quit) without notice. It also means you can be fired without a reason. It most emphatically does not mean you can be fired for any reason, though -- for example, you can't fire someone because of race, sex, etc. even in an at-will state.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        Out of curiosity, how do non-profits fit into that? e.g., if a church hires a dude and the dude later "recants" so to speak, can the church "fire" him on religious grounds?

        (genuinely asking as I'm ignorant..)

    • by starX (306011)
      I'm totally with you on this labor party thing, but the flip side of "right to work" is that just about every non-compete form I've had shoved under my nose is basically unenforceable. And, in all fairness, if the larger unions hadn't become as corrupt as the corporate machines they were supposed to be protecting their workers from in the mid 20th century, Right to Work legislation wouldn't have got very far. Here in America, we've always seemed to brand anything that sounded a little bit like socialism as
    • "I think you are a pompous bastard child of a whore. "

      Hey now, that's MR. pompous bastard child of a whore to you, if you please.
  • by TWX (665546) on Tuesday July 28, 2009 @02:08PM (#28855943)
    ...other than that these are better documented. Take your clothes off for pictures on your web page, don't be surprised if that is weighed in a hiring process (might work your advantage :) Make strong, rude political statements, don't be surprised if a political organization that tries to be civil doesn't wish to have you representing them. Criticize your boss, especially if you are rude, unduly harsh, or anything other than factual, and you betchya they could terminate you for it, even in large organizations with separate HR departments. Demonstrate other behaviors that show that you're unsuited to something and they might just deny you that.

    On the mold issue, I haven't seen enough to make a call. If there really is mold then I wouldn't find her in the wrong in the slightest, because Truth *should* win out even if it's not a happy truth. If there isn't a mold problem then I could see how there could be issues.

    Consider what you've typed before submitting. It could come back to bite you if you're not careful.
  • Really.

    On the one hand: Getting fired, when your job is in politics and people can identify you with your boss, for publicly saying something stupidly insulting ("O-dumb-a") about a major political figure (never mind which media) which people can trace back to your and your boss.

    On the other hand: Making a likely factually-accurate statement in public about mold in your rental unit, and getting sued by the landlord.

    If you're hired to work in politics, you know damn well you have to remain true to the politi

  • Fools! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Loki_1929 (550940) on Tuesday July 28, 2009 @02:12PM (#28855995) Journal

    Why on God's green Earth would you post anything of any substance to any online account that can be traced back to real you without massive court involvement? These social networking sites are prime candidates for one-stop shopping sprees of information about individuals. We've got people posting everything from offensive tirades to nude pictures of themselves where anyone with a search engine and a free, anonymous account can find them.

    Do people seriously think that they exist in a bubble so long as they have a keyboard in front of them? Or are their brains trapped in a bubble of ignorance and short-sightedness?

    Separate YOU from online YOU, and if possible, separate online YOU into several different online YOUs such that an individual profile can't be established via common username, cross-linkage, etc. For Christ sakes, people, it's 2009. It's long, long past the point where anyone should be doing stuff this stupid. Every spot where a user can post something on the internet is an enormous billboard so high and large that everyone on Earth can see it for the rest of time. Learn to treat it as such.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      Wish somebody had told me that when I was signing up for Slashdot. Had I known I wouldn't have used my real name as my username.

    • Re:Fools! (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Daniel Dvorkin (106857) * on Tuesday July 28, 2009 @04:25PM (#28858325) Homepage Journal

      Or do what I do: post under your real name (and my name is rare enough that it's pretty easy for anyone who wants to find out about me to do so) and take the risk.

      It's a real risk, I acknowledge that. It shouldn't be, any more than writing a letter to the editor of a newspaper back in the days when that was the main way for people to get their political opinions out to the world, but I know it is. But there are benefits as well. For one thing, there are probably just as many people who share my opinions as disagree with them. People who would, say, deny me a job because I expressed a political opinion are probably people who are looking for an excuse to fire me anyway (or wouldn't hire me in the first place.) And maybe most importantly, I can take a certain amount of pride in knowing that I'm attaching my name to my words. If an opinion is important enough for me to express in a public forum, then it's important enough for me to say "I say this."

      All that being said, of course we need an option for anonymity, to protect whistleblowers and the like. But the assumption that posting under a screen name is always the best way to go strikes me as kind of distasteful.

  • How is this "thought crime?" "Thought" implies "non published thought." If I WRITE DOWN my thoughts and someone sues me for libel, that isn't thought crime. Both of these people were perfectly free to think their opinions all they wanted. They got in trouble when they wrote them down for a significant amount of other people to see.

    That's how it usually goes. The landowner isn't suing because the person thought something was moldy. Her thinking it was moldy didn't lose him, in his view, $50k. Her tell

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Chris Burke (6130)

      How is this "thought crime?" "Thought" implies "non published thought." If I WRITE DOWN my thoughts and someone sues me for libel, that isn't thought crime.

      No, "thought" implies "something you think", that's it. It does not imply that you have never expressed this thought in any fixed format.

      The term "thoughtcrime" comes from 1984, where the Thought Police did *not* have mind-reading powers (this was of course considered their holy grail). "Thoughtcrime" was the crime of having unacceptable thoughts/belief

  • ... is the following:

    "deputy press secretary to Manhattan Borough President Scott M. Stringer".

    WTF? deputy press secretary? The Borough President has a press secretary AND a deputy press secretary???

  • and in the USA it is usually a custom to vent our feelings so that we don't hold them in and get sick.

    Most of the time it is over little things, and people usually vent to their friends who take the time to listen to them.

    What we have now is venting via the Internet. My advice to people who want to do that is to use a handle or nickname that cannot be traced back to them, and they post anonymously. Because now it seems as if venting using your real name can lead to libel and other charges. Yeah some web sit

  • Points (Score:3, Informative)

    by dcollins (135727) on Tuesday July 28, 2009 @02:32PM (#28856297) Homepage

    Coouple interesting things: (1) It's not an individual landlord doing this, it's a large real estate company. Hey, companies do stupid things. (2) Read the following proud quote and hope the die by their own sword:

    "How much damage can a Tweet do? According to property management company Horizon Realty, $50,000 worth... Horizon's Jeffrey Michael is quoted in the Sun-Times as saying 'The statements are obviously false, and it's our intention to prove that', adding that Horizon has a good reputation to protect. Bonnen wasn't contacted before the suit was filed or asked to remove the Tweet, he said: 'We're a sue first, ask questions later kind of an organization'."

    http://mashable.com/2009/07/28/woman-sued-tweet/ [mashable.com]

  • "Freedom of Speech does not imply Freedom from Consequence"

    You are free to do damn near anything. We do not have pre-crime cops yet... yet...

    But a private citizen also has the freedom to litigate, challenge, and defend their name, integrity, and honor.

    The Constitution places limits on government, not it's citizens. Christian publishers are well and clear to refuse to publish anti-christian works. That is censorship, but the private world is free to do so. Any parent who has uttered to a 10 year old "you are

  • Barratry (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Pig Hogger (10379) <pig.hogger@gmBOHRail.com minus physicist> on Tuesday July 28, 2009 @08:12PM (#28860809) Journal

    ”We’re a sue first, ask questions later kind of an organization”.

    This is great. That quote alone is grounds for lawsuit dismissal, for barratry [wikipedia.org].

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