Nicole Johnson is a single mom to three children. She also used to work as a special-education paraprofessional. She had been in a little bit of trouble with the school administration for several reasons. First, she often showed up a few minutes late for work. We’re talking like 10 minutes, and as she explained, she didn’t have anyone she was working with for the day until 20 minutes after she was supposed to arrive at work. She blames being a few minutes late on her ADHD and the difficulty of getting herself and three kids ready to go in the morning.
The other issue the school had was Johnson’s social media posts. In May, Johnson posted a video that she thought was “silly and goofy.” In the video, Johnson is holding a Starbucks cup, and she captioned the video, “Me telling my coworkers there is no way I can come in early cause I have kids, but yet I arrive with a Starbucks daily.”
@nicoleybridget3 I mean I’m not lying #fyp #trending #lol #starbucks ♬ sweetest Pie with wink – blair
One of her coworkers shared the video with the school’s administration, and then Johnson got fired.
In a follow up TikTok, Johnson explained that when she was called in to discuss “her attendance and a social media post” she “had no idea what they were talking about.” It didn’t occur to her that the Starbucks post would get her fired. She said, “I didn’t think I could get fired for it because I didn’t think it was unprofessional. It doesn’t swear. It’s not negative. It’s not harassing. It’s literally just me being like I can’t come into work early but I have a Starbucks.”
Johnson also pointed out that she didn’t even say she was going into work late because of Starbucks. She was just saying she couldn’t go into work early, yet she still got Starbucks.
At the meeting where she got fired, there were three admin, and each one had a full page picture of the post where she joked about having a Starbucks before work. The picture wasn’t even a screenshot. It was a picture of another person’s phone with the post on it. Because it was a picture of someone’s phone, she immediately knew who had turned her in because she knew whose phone it was.
Besides the joke about not being able to come into work early, it seems that Johnson was fired party due to her coworkers’ lack of knowledge about TikTok. She was told that #FYP means “F you people,” when in fact, as she corrected them, in the world of TikTok it means “For You Page.” She said, “I tried to explain it to them…but they’re not on TikTok. And so they tried to end it with it also means F you people.”
That isn’t even the whole story. Back in November, Johnson posted a series of TikToks about her niece who suffered from a brain injury at a young age. One of her coworkers was there when the brain injury happened. It was shortly after these posts that the school claimed she was “harassing a coworker” and put her on administrative leave.
Do you think the school was being unreasonable for firing Johnson because of her TikTok posts? Do you think Johnson deserved to be fired?