Sales Clerk Fired for Sharing a Picture of His Paycheck on Instagram


Social media have opened all sorts of avenues for getting in trouble at work, from oversharing workplace gossip on Twitter to old Facebook photos showing bosses parts of your past not covered on your resume. But here’s a relatively new one: Showing the world what your paycheck looks like.

That’s what Wade Groom, a sales clerk at fashion house Lacoste’s main store in Manhattan, did, earning a swift trip to the unemployment office.

Groom snapped an image of his paycheck a few weeks ago and posted it to Instagram with the message: “Ever since I was a kid I’ve thought it was completely insane that we have to work all our lives. I still feel that way. Especially when it’s only enough to live in a third world apartment…”


After a few weeks of bumping around the mediasphere, the image eventually became know to Lacoste managers, who told Groom that the posting violated the confidentiality agreement he signed before going to work for Lacoste. And don’t let the door whap your butt on the way out.

Groom told Gothamist that he really didn’t intend to complain about his salary — $15/hour, plus a 3% commission on record sales numbers — as much as make a philosophical statement about the old grind. And he sure didn’t expect it to go semi-viral. “I assumed that people would understand that I’m just expressing my frustration through my private Instagram account,” he told the blog. “Had I know it would have gotten out like this, I never would have done it. ”

(via Gothamist)

  • Character Assassinated

    Yeah that keeps haunting me too. I worked in a store where an incident happened and my boss refused to communicate with me and then it got insane where another employee accused me, to the boss, of having a plan to kill everyone in work with guns, I didn’t know what to do except talk to my boss, who refused to talk to me about it, so I took it to the police, and documented it on FB for two reasons; 1, to cover my ass in case the gun-plot guy decided to act out his fantasies (has a psychological history), and 2 to get advice from my friends over what I should do in this event: everyone said go to the Police. I was fired and my unemployment refused because my FB page (which wasn’t searchable, without knowing me directly and/or knowing my pseudonym directly to which the FB page is under) supposedly damaged the reputation of the business, which was judged on a precedent because any damage to the business has never been proved as being associated with my non searchable FB posting.

  • Banan Tarr

    When will people learn?

  • Larry Angier

    As long as politicians of both parties run the asylum, you will get screwed when you work for others. Quite work, join the dole generation and let some other schmuck pay your way.

  • Jared

    He’s complaining about working for a clothing store in the one of the world’s fashion capitals, then comparing his living situation to trailer trash and third world countries. NY is obviously expensive, but he’s being dramatic. I’m sure there are people around the world who would love to be paid $15/hr; Some even in NY.

  • Scott M.

    Social networking, i.e, sharing your interesting life with the world…world bites back.
    Privacy is a good thing, more kids should look into it.

  • beautox

    Nice. Why not suggest starting a business or becoming self employed? Why suggest mooching off others as a valid lifestyle choice. Glad I don’t live in your country.

  • beautox

    Plenty would love to be paid $15 per day. Average wage in India is less than $5 a day

  • Antonio Carrasco

    Huh, not every detail of my mundane existence needs to be shared with the entire world?

  • Just passing through

    Exactly. I don’t live in New York so it is less expensive but I get paid somewhat less than that. and I was really happy to get it. Unemployment is horrible and I waited a long time for this job. Seems he didn’t appreciate what he had.

  • jkantor267

    Bad management is nothing a cheap handgun can’t solve.

  • Renato Murakami

    I guess it’ll still take years or more for people to understand that social networks are pretty much like a public place where you’re basically shouting at and recording content to unknown people. It’s not your therapist, it’s not your personal diary, it’s not a place to post sensitive information or complain about personal and/or sensitive stuff.
    Nothing new here. If he was not happy with it, he should’ve gonne straight up to his boss before making a public statement. In the end, he got what he said he wanted in the first place. Contrary to popular belief, you are responsible for the stuff you decide to post on the internet, even on social networks.
    There seems to be this notion of disconnect between real and digital life that people just don’t get. His actions were pretty much the same as taking a pic of his paycheck and putting it in a public board on his neighborhood with that nice message in it.
    If he wanted to make some philosophical generic statement he should’ve not attached his paycheck to it. In fact, in a general sense, never post pics of your paycheck – that’s just stupid. People get fired for posting it by mistake, so this case is even worse.
    Public statements like that can do real damage to the companies that are paying your wage, wether you like it or not. Sounds plenty fair to me.

  • 34423432

    well genius… cost of living …cost of living…. you sure have no college degree…..

  • beautox

    That’s why they have this measure called Purchasing Power Parity, which takes that into account. The Indian average wage with PPP is $9.88 per day. I guess you’ve never been to India and seen how poor it is. People in the USA have no idea of poverty

  • anon

    sure, let’s all live in India, and work in NYC. That commute won’t be too bad, just hop on a train. (insert sarcasm)

  • bob cooley

    If you wanted advice from friends, you should have consulted with those people in a private setting: in person or via private email. Sharing that type of information on a public website (where when one of your friends comments on something it is exposed to their network as well) is ill-advised. Most likely your boss has a boss (unless they are the owner, and the sole owner) – You aren’t covering your ass by posting to facebook, you are by speaking to the cops, and a lawyer.

  • Andrew Iverson

    Correct me if i’m wrong, but couldn’t someone also do bad things with the routing and account numbers on the check that are show?

  • Ezmo

    I think you should maybe take a road trip to rural Mississippi or Detroit sometime. There’s some shocking poverty in the United States. It’s not as bad as India on average but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.

  • delayedflight

    No sympathy. He really should have read his contract some companies state that you’re not allowed to share details of your earnings to anyone.
    If he’s in breach of his contract the company is in their right to show him the door.

    It’s a hard reality but that’s the way the world works.

  • Alex Minkin

    durrrr. have we really come so full circle that we need tell people that post on facebook isn’t a legal document?

    wait, no, we do. because I still see the ‘u kant read my FB page if yur a cop cuz thats illegegagagl.’

  • Bewar3them00n

    I was working for a small interior design company, money wasn’t great, but it was a job etc, I’d booked some time off for a holiday 10 days, then closer to the time I verbally extended it with my boss, to 14 days,he was fine with it.
    So, when I came back, after a long 12 hr flight, bit jet lagged, arrived at work, which was a one room, open plan office, I sat at my desk, fired up the mac and got ready to work, my boss said, “can I have a word with you outside?” … “You’ve got 5 minutes, clear your desk and go!” Slightly shellshocked, I asked what this was about? He refused to talk to me, so I just cleared my desk and left, feeling stunned.
    It wasn’t until about a year later that I found out it was because, in my bosses mind, I’d taken the piss with the holiday, he’d forgotten I’d extended the holiday by 4 days, and then decided to fire me on the spot on arriving back.
    In hindsight I should’ve got legal advice and sued for wrongful dismissal, but I shortly after got another, better paid job, closer to home, Sometimes you get dickhead bosses who don’t engage their brain.
    As for FB and Instagram, I don’t discuss work, or post spur of the moment things, that’s just stupid!

  • Alan Klughammer

    I am really surprised at the consensus here. Most people seem to think it is ok that he got fired. WTF all he did is complain about his pay. Who has not done that?
    Granted, he complained a little bit too publicly, but who doesn’t know that a) New York is expensive, and b) retail doesn’t pay well. What damage has he done to the company?
    As for a confidentiality agreement, as a low level sales person, what business harming information does he really have access to?
    I have worked retail for years (mainly as management, so yes I did have access to information that could harm the company) but I always treated my employees much better than this, even if I had to pay them even less…

  • Russell Flowers

    He should just live in Connecticut, and commute to NYC. Duh! :)

  • Heie

    I don’t get what the issue is. Why the need to read the contract to learn if sharing your salary is in violation of that contract? Your salary is confidential between you, your boss, and any HR persons that may process that check.

    But then posting it online? It’s immature and uncouth. Nothing more, nothing less, and I am confident his store and its customers will benefit from this ‘loss’.

  • Crissa

    Is there even enough details in the picture to break confidentiality?

    And why does a business get to choose to hide their half of a bargain? Are they cheats? It’s not like he photo’d someone else’s paycheck.

  • Crissa

    No. Routing numbers may not be common knowledge, but they’re public details of banks. The account number is more important, but banks already have to defend against phishing attempts and should verify any transactions.

    Business accounts such as this one generally do not have excess funds or allow for linked draws using only the account number. Now, if he’d photo’d a PO check…

  • Marshall D. Glistenrod

    What. No one weighs in on the “it’s insane we have to work all our lives” statement? I like many hope this is not a consensus opinion among younger workers starting their lives. If so, we are all screwed. Is this a typical attitude among the youth today. I’m curious to know.

  • Alex Minkin

    I assume you can provide citation of this federal law?

  • Tanya Hickey

    Did you read that on the internet? Posted on Facebook by chance? Rates right up there with “Facebook had changed it’s privacy settings…” blah, blah, bullcrap~