Nirmal Singh is contesting his termination, calling it “wrongful dismissal” and claiming that he never supported the Islamic state. He is also seeking $7,000 in lost wages.
Singh was an airline service agent for Aerocare Flight Support but lost his job after management discovered Facebook posts written by Singh under a pseudonym. Aerocare justified the firing of the employee, claiming that the content of the posts was in support of a terrorist organization and raised issues of national security as well as air safety.
Singh contends that the posts were “political in nature and therefore did not breach the company’s social media policy.” Furthermore, he argues that because the posts were written under a different name, no one reading his statements would have been able to identify his place of employment.
Sing also told the Fair Work Commission that at least one of his messages was “sarcastic” and should not have been taken seriously. He also allegedly wrote several other posts under his alias, Sherry Solus Singh, and used a real photo of himself.
An investigation has discovered three messages, including two that featured information about radical Islamic group Hizb ut-Tahrir, which promotes the upset of Western governments and the instatement of a global Islamic state. Singh also “liked” the group’s Facebook page.
Though Singh has stated that he understands that even “jokes” must be taken seriously by airport security, “There is no post that threatens anyone or names anyone,” he argued.
“There were concerns I understood and I addressed those concerns by offering to delete the posts and the profile but how they breached the social media policy, I don’t understand,” he said.
Tensions in the Middle East have rendered a state of high anxiety and sensitivity across the globe, thus forcing airport security to be on high alert at all times. Airport employees especially must be careful about what they post to social media, and management must be meticulous in their background checks and hiring practices. As many as 35% of CEOs of small and midsize businesses report that staffing is the most significant business issue they currently face.