Fitness Instructor Fired for Big Mac Tweet

Some employees take their work more seriously than others. Take Grant Hill, for example. Hill worked as a cycling instructor at Life Time Fitness in Rockville, Maryland, one day a week, according to the Washington Post’s Capital Business Blog. On November 6, after arriving at the gym, Hill saw a coworker preparing to eat lunch. Although a workday meal is not usually a particularly interesting event, Hill was particularly interested in this lunch because it came from fast-food restaurant, McDonald’s.

Apparently perturbed by his co-worker’s lunch choice, Hill tweeted a picture of the McDonald’s to-go bag as it sat on his co-worker’s desk. The tweet stated:

A McDonald’s bag sits on an employees desk @lifetimefitness aka “the healthy way of life company.” Ah the irony.

As you may have guessed, Hill’s employer was about as thrilled with Hill’s tweet as Hill was with his coworker’s Big Mac. According to the Capital Business blog, management demanded that the tweet be deleted but Hill refused unless he was permitted to write an article about the health risks of fast food to be published in Life Time’s wisely distributed magazine. Hill was fired a few weeks later.

A spokesperson for Life Time said that the termination was not a result of the tweet but for Hill’s second job, which Life Time deemed to be a competing personal-fitness business.

Hill stands by his tweet and is quoted as saying that he “directed at [his employer] hoping to engage in dialogue socially.” For my two cents, tweeting a sarcasm-laden comment doesn’t seem like the most “social” way to go about starting a dialogue of any kind. Instead, it seems to be more like a stab in the back, or a nasty quip said just loud enough to be heard by the intended recipient.

On the other hand, because the tweet relates to the “mission” of Hill’s employer, it seems like the kind of commentary that the NLRB would argue constitutes protected activity under the National Labor Relations Act.

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