Detroit Ford Dealership Fires Employee Over Inflammatory Social Media Comment
A Detroit Ford Dealership Fires Employee for Inflammatory Social Media Comment
A Ford dealership in the Detroit area, owned by Lithia Motors Inc., recently terminated an employee who made offensive remarks about the UAW (United Auto Workers) on social media. This incident occurred during the same period when thousands of Ford workers went on strike.
The dealership, Suburban Ford of Ferndale, issued an apology on its Facebook page, describing the comments as “hateful” and clarifying that the individual responsible was a former employee. The dealership has since removed the post.
The employee made multiple comments on a Facebook page dedicated to UAW members discussing contract negotiations with the Detroit 3 automakers. Screenshots of the comments showed the employee questioning the strike and expressing negative sentiments towards the UAW.
Lithia Motors Inc. Takes Action
A spokesperson from Lithia Motors Inc. confirmed that the employee was terminated on Friday for violating the company’s social media policy. The employee’s profile has been removed from the dealership’s website, and their Facebook profile appears to have been deleted as well.
In their Facebook post, Suburban Ford of Ferndale emphasized that while they cannot control individuals expressing their opinions on social media, the dealership does not share the same message as the former employee and supports all UAW workers and their right to strike.
Impact of the UAW Strike
The UAW initiated a historic strike against all three Detroit automakers, including Ford, last Friday. Approximately 13,000 workers across three plants are currently on strike. The Ford plant affected is Michigan Assembly in Wayne, which is also located in the Detroit area.
UAW President Shawn Fain announced that the automakers have until noon this Friday to make significant progress in negotiations, or the strike may expand further.
Repercussions and Lessons
Following the incident, Suburban Ford of Ferndale faced negative reviews on its Facebook page, with customers expressing their disappointment with the former employee’s comments. The dealership’s older Facebook posts also received numerous frustrated comments.
Thom Fladung, managing partner for crisis communications company Hennes Communications, highlighted the potential viral nature of social media and the need for employees to be aware of the impact their posts can have on their employer. Fladung emphasized that employees should understand the potential consequences of their actions and recognize that they represent their employer even on personal social media accounts.
About Lithia Motors Inc.
Suburban Ford of Ferndale is part of Lithia’s Suburban Collection in southeast Michigan. Lithia Motors Inc., based in Medford, Oregon, is the largest dealership group in the United States, ranking first on Automotive News’ list. In 2022, Lithia retailed 271,596 new vehicles, including dealerships outside the U.S.