Racist Facebook message to Black Lives Matter costs man his job


A Minnesota man lost his job after profane Facebook messages sent to Black Lives Matter were shared on social media.

Daily Haze has what appear to be screenshots of the message from a Facebook user named Brad Schultz, which includes the n-word as well as other profanities and says: "Just leave, white people don't like you."

The message was shared on the Facebook page of Threatwatch (which says its goal is to "call out violent rhetoric and threats" against activists) and proliferated from there. Users found someone with the same name who worked for Archer Daniels Midland in Mankato and began contacting the company.

About 90 minutes after the original message, another two were sent from the Brad Schultz account, asking that they delete his first message from their Facebook page and writing:

ADM Mankato responded on Twitter earlier this week, saying the company had finished its investigation into the social media comments. They also called the remarks "unacceptable" and not a reflection of ADM's values.

The employee "no longer works for ADM," the

" target="_blank">company said, though it did not get into details.

Can companies do that?

Not surprisingly, there isn't really a simple answer to this.

Forbes wrote about this in 2011, when the National Labor Relations Board put out a review of 14 cases involving social media posts and jobs. Whether an employee was lawfully fired depended a lot on whether the online posts were "protected concerted activities" – that is, conversation between employees about improving working conditions, Forbes says.

But those cases are mainly about employees criticizing the company they work for.

Minnesota's Department of Employment and Economic Development talks about this in a workplace issues document, which discusses the issues surrounding privacy expectations and employer monitoring.

State law provides protections for employees' off-duty activities, and their expectation of privacy – things like intruding into personal or private matters can lead to a lawsuit, the document says.

There are some exceptions though, such as if an employee signs a contract that gives the company permission to monitor computers, phones or electronic messaging (think a work email account).

However, The Associated Press spoke with a law attorney who said the National Labor Relations Board will uphold firings if a post damages a company's reputation or its services.

The AP also wrote that if a post is "racist, homophobic, sexist or discriminate against a religion, companies should fire workers rather than be seen as tolerating or condoning the employees' views."

Huffington Post has a list of cases where employees were fired over social media posts.

Next Up

closed sign

What's open and closed in Minnesota on Thanksgiving Day 2020?

Most services will not be running on Thursday and unlike most years, many stores will be closed, too.


How a turkey's brush with celebrity in Bloomington came to a tragic end

DNR: if you care about wild animals, stop feeding them

TCF Bank Stadium

Saturday's Gophers/Badgers football game canceled due to COVID-19 issues

The Battle for Paul Bunyan's Axe will not take place for the first time since 1906.

coronavirus, Iowa

MN health officials don't think downside of COVID-19 peak has arrived

We could be in a trough between a series of waves, Jan Malcolm said.

covid-19, coronavirus

Wisconsin reports record 104 deaths from COVID-19 Tuesday

That's roughly 10% of the total in the nation in a 24-hour period.


Husband and wife sentenced for fraud scheme through their drywall firm

The Annandale pair bilked an insurance company out of more than $300,000.


4 pedestrians suffer life-threatening injuries after being struck by vehicle

Two vehicles crashed into a car that was on the side of the road after striking a deer.

Marcus Carr

Gophers season preview: New lineup, deeper bench, more questions

Mathew Goldstein takes a deep dive into the murky waters of the college hoops season.


Photos: ViV!R, Minneapolis' new Mexican cafe and shop, is now open

The team behind the acclaimed Popol Vuh have opened the cafe in the same space.


At Wiscoy Township's sole precinct, election judges ditched masks

Voter and Wiscoy resident Kaitlyn O'Connor took a photo of the judges after asking them to wear masks, she said