Would You Fire Someone for Planking?
GameStop's business is entertainment, but the company made it clear that those on the clock shouldn't be partaking in the fun and games.
The Grapevine, Texas-based company fired an employee who went planking on the job, as well as the fellow employee who snapped the photo of him doing so between two in-store kiosks.
John Mazzocchi, a four-year GameStop employee, planked in what looked like an empty store in Long Island, New York. He Tweeted two photos of himself: one from behind the register, planking between the back and front counters, and another between two merchandise displays. Along with the photos, he Tweeted, "When I go #planking I go hardcore."
Planking is an online craze—started in Australia and New Zealand—where people post pictures of themselves laying flat as a board on Twitter and Facebook. The stranger/weirder/riskier the place you plank, the more online props you get. (Yes, planking can be dangerous: In May, a 20-year-old Australian died trying to show himself planking off the side of an apartment building roof.)
GameStop is known for aggressively monitoring employees' social media activity, and the company has a clause in its employment contract saying employees can be terminated for what they say online about the company.
Mazzocchi, a "senior game adviser," was fired for misconduct. A letter he posted about being denied unemployment benefits noted: "You were employed in a supervisory position and were expected to follow and uphold the employer's policies. Your intentional act to share your on-duty actions via social networking media shows complete disregard for your employer and it is considered a rise to the level of gross negligence."
Inc. contributing editor Courtney Rubin was for five years a London-based staff writer for People magazine. Rubin, a former senior writer for Washingtonian magazine, has written for the New York Times magazine, Time, Marie Claire, and other publications. She is the author of The Weight-Loss Diaries.