Obscene Facebook photos and workplace consequences

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The web was abuzz with outrage following the posting of an ill-conceived photo by two women last week – nothing new in the online world, but when the women were suspended from their work by their employer, the plot thickened.

The photo in question depicts Lindsey Stone, a worker at non-profit organisation LIFE, bending beside a sign which calls for ‘silence and respect’ whilst in the grounds of the Arlington National Cemetery. Taken by her friend and co-worker Jamie Schuh, the women were placed on unpaid leave by their employer after they posted the photo on Facebook, and it quickly garnered condemnation.

A 'Fire Lindsey Stone' Facebook page was set up by detractors and soon attracted more than 14,000 likes. While the photo and comments were soon removed by Stone, Gawker published a screen shot of Stone's response to the negative comments on her page. “Whoa whoa whoa ... wait," Stone wrote on October 20, according to the screen shot. “This is just us, being the douchebags that we are, challenging authority in general ... OBVIOUSLY we meant NO disrespect to people that serve or have served our country.”

In the The Boston Herald the women had the following apology published:

“We also sincerely apologise to LIFE, Inc. It is an amazing organisation that provides invaluable services to adults with learning and developmental disabilities. We are beyond remorseful that our actions have caused them such undue public scrutiny. The disrespect implied by our picture has nothing at all to do with LIFE's mission statement or values. We regret having caused any suffering to the staff members, residents, families and friends...,” the excerpt read.

In media commentary about the incident, the women were identified as employees of LIFE, and their actions were perceived as reflecting poorly on the organisation.

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