Culture | Staff created ghoulish group chat to vent about customers

Staff created ghoulish group chat to vent about customers

Employees sharing stories from their working day with their colleagues or confiding in them on workplace issues is a regular part of many people’s day.

But when it comes to venting about a business’ customers, HR would need to consider taking a look at the organisation’s culture and why employees are choosing to blast customers in the first place.

This is something the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) recently uncovered. It has been reported that TSA employees created a private Facebook group where they have vented about passengers using racist, vulgar and homophobic language - the Daily Mail reported.

Additionally, reporting revealed the existence of the Facebook page titled TSA Breakroom where 18,000 employees are members.

In the group chat, employees can be seen making comments such as “F***ing idiots of the world making my job harder” and “I hope your plane blows up”.

Another post read: “How the f**k do these passengers wake up and get themselves dressed in the morning and make it to the airport without getting themselves killed?”

This was followed up by a reply from a colleague who wrote: “Cause these people are pretty f***ing stupid.”

Another employee shared racist comments to the page about a group of Chinese passengers. They wrote: “I should buy a Lotto ticket! We just screened a whole group of Chinese tourists without having to call a single bag check!”

In addition, one employee went one step further in their quest to abuse customers after uploading a picture of a customer to the Facebook group making fun of her size.

While the identities of the employees were kept hidden, some of the airports where they worked were revealed including Salt Lake City Airport, Dulles International Airport in Virginia and an airport in Baltimore, Maryland.

Monica Stoddard, a former TSA employee, revealed that the page was created due to low morale among employees, and is part of a larger problem within the organisation.

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A Spokesperson for the TSA revealed to the Daily Mail that the firm knew of the page but said it is not affiliated with the company.

They added: “It is a private site that is neither affiliated with nor endorsed by TSA. As such, TSA does not monitor the site.

“The Code of Conduct for TSA employees provides that an employee's off-duty internet use must not adversely reflect on TSA or negatively impact its mission, cause embarrassment to the agency, or cause the public and/or TSA to question the employee's reliability, judgment, or trustworthiness.”

What could HR do?

The fact that a former employee identified morale as the root cause of the Facebook page suggests that HR could do more to focus on improving the company’s culture and the wellbeing of its employees. When this is a core focus for an employer, staff members will recognise that the business is putting in place steps to improve the workplace and will likely prevent situations such as this from arising.

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