Letter: I lost my job because of a screenshot

Dear TLS readers. I want to share an awful incident with readers in hopes of preventing such a thing from happening to anyone else.

I was recently having a conversation with someone I thought was a friend. During the conversation, I made a comment complaining about a certain aspect of my job. A few days later, I was called in to my boss’s office and I was fired. He brought up the comment I made to this person, and when I tried to spin it in a way to defend my job, he went ahead and pulled up a screenshot of the private conversation I had. I was mortified. I could feel all the blood in me draining. I was at a loss of words.

How could someone do this? Why is it okay to show someone else a private conversation? Especially knowing this could cost someone his livelihood.

Now I’m out of a job because of this, and I’m hurt and feel betrayed.

It was obviously meant to be this way, and hopefully one day when I’m back on my feet I’ll find it in my heart to forgive this person. But the reason I’m writing this letter, is to show you the seriousness and danger of sharing information, especially in today’s day in age.

Thank you TLS for giving me the forum to share this.

Name withheld,


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  1. Shame on your boss! Hopefully the all merciful one won’t punish him for cutting your parnassah.

    I’m not condoning what you did . There are certainly more effective methods of addressing this incident.

  2. You should forgive that person immediately.

    I once said something nasty to a Gadol., I called him an “achzor,” cruel. He started to berate me, called me a “chazer,” a pig. As he was berating me, he said, “You must have suffered a lot as a bochur for you to say this nasty thing to me.” In other words, though he was upset at me, he assumed (incorrectly) that for me to be so chutzpadik to this gadol I must have suffered a lot in life.

    In my case, the gadol happened to be wrong. But from your story it seems clear that your confidant really did suffer a lot. Don’t hold it against him. He should have and could have resisted his evil temptations, but even having such a temptation makes him a nebach case. Please, forgive him.

    • This comment is so bewildering, I dont know where to begin.

      You were chutzpadik to a GADOL?!

      a GADOL!? called you a chazer???!

      This whole story is just off.
      And practically, (if the story is as presented, not that i am assuming one way or another, but lets take the story as is for now, then) NO, YOU DONT HAVE TO BE MOCHEL HIM!!!

      Someone who says rechilus abbout you must ask and earn the mechila he desires.

      This notion that you must forgive everyone who harmed you is actually a damaging outlook. Chazal never required or event expected that people should just forgive someone out of the blue.

      From this notion we now have the idea that evildoers are aways to be forgiven but if you have “tainos” on someone you are a “roah lev”, this is the exact opposite of the truth and does more harm than good.

    • Chaim’l, this is a very strange comment, that makes me question your judgement on who is a Gadol. Regardless of what you experienced in the past, that does not give you a free pass on your future actions.

      The fact that your take on your story was “the Gadol” happened to be wrong” shows that you learned nothing from that experience, and that the “Gadol’s” first impression was likely correct

  3. Wow I am speechless how someone can do something like that, I can only be dan licaf zichus that the person who told you boss about this meant it in a good way to help you and you boss took it in the wrong way ect.. it just can’t be someone can be so outright rude

  4. Too many details are missing, to properly understand if any of the people were possibly correct in this story.

    But this does serve as an IMPORTANT reminder that besides not sharing other people’s private conversations, never share what you don’t want to be shared. Especially in writing or voice notes. This can always come back to bite.

  5. Wow, how awful. People do not realize the harm they can cause. Its probably hard to hear words of comfort when you just went thru something so hard. But from my experience in the past, the loss of a job has led to better opportunities. You will look back at this and see that it was for the good. Hatzlocha

    • Sorry, but that is not correct. Employers can fire employees for any reason except for discrimination based on protected class status (race, color, nationality, gender, disability, illness, etc.), retaliatory firing for harassment complaints and whistle blowing.

      Another protected category is employees who have a contract providing for grounds for termination which must be met. This prevails in union and non-union government employment and unionized industries and in executive positions. Ordinary private employment below the executive level is mostly “at will” employment which means the employer can fire you and the employee can quit at will, with no pre-requisites.

      • Now you know why unions are beneficial.
        Sadly, our community has bought the claims of the rich Republicans that unions are harmful. They are harmful – to those who want to soak the poor and force them into uncomfortable situations. For the rest of us, unions are great.

  6. I definitely feel for you and hope that you find another job that suits your needs very soon! I just want to say that many companies have access to see employees work emails and chats, so if the conversation was through the work emails or chats then it is possible that they read it without anyone forwarding them the screenshot.

  7. Depending on what you said about the job he may have been correct in sharing that information with the boss. And by extension the boss may have been correct in firing you. So this is a completely one sided story. Worth nothing

  8. Firstly, while I feel bad for you, what the person did and showed your boss, may feel like a breach of your privacy, but is not wrong on many fronts.
    Firstly, there may be a Chiyuv of the person to tell your boss, depending on his relationship with your boss. But ask your LOR.
    Secondly, if you voice your opinion to someone that you don’t like your boss, you should not be shocked not to have a job anymore.
    Its a two way street.

    With a bracha that you find a new job where you are happy really soon.

  9. This sounds like malicious intent on the part of the so-called friend. Unfortunately there are very few apps that prevent screen-shots. Those are mostly financial related apps like bank accounts and the like.

    It is possible for an app to not allow a screen-shot however, email, social media (like Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp and Texting, etc.) do not do this, so your privacy becomes non-existent.

    In Facebook all you can do is prevent the screenshot from taking your profile picture. Facebook will warn you if someone takes a screen-shot but of course it’s after the fact. This should soon also happen for Snapchat.

    If you are using a computer, you can use software like SnagIt to capture anything so everything on your screen is fair game.

    There are third-party apps that can allow you to take a screen-shot even on sites that don’t allow it.

    The problem is, there is no privacy legislation when it comes to screen shots. Anything you send was initiated by you and cannot be deemed stolen or copied.

    If you think this is worthy of a separate article by me, please comment and I can take it from there.

    Thanks for reading, I hope this helps.

  10. If this was a frum person, they were oiver on rechillus as if you had told them the complaint and then they went and told your boss what you said. Many people think that sharing an email, whattsapp or the like, is not considered lashon hara if negative information is conveyed. In general, it’s disgusting when people forward things without asking permission. It’s become an accepted thing to do but it’s really no different than repeating over something you were told privately

  11. Many if not most IT departments have access to employees web surfing and email and can take screen shots of the same. If something needs to be private, use your private device to send it.

    • Was thinking the exact same thing.

      Before blaming your friend make sure she’s the one who shared the comment. Chances are she had nothing to do with it.

      Thanks for the awareness. Wishing you to find a nicer boss soon. As you’re probably aware, it’s an employee’s market these days.

  12. Amazing how everyone is spewing opinions here one way or another without hearing the other side of the story, and without knowing the content of the information and without considering what the halacha actually would mandate one way or another. SMH

  13. Sounds like a clear case of רכילות to me on the part of your ‘so called friend’ who went to your boss, and also your boss who rather than just say I’d rather not see it, agreed to see the screenshot so in effect was מקבל it..

  14. Too much missing from this story to do anything other than wish the author well in their job search. As stated above the “friend” may not have turned over the conversation if it was on a company computer. With the job market as tight as it is if you complain about a minor aspect of your job you won’t be fired. When you have to “spin” a comment that’s usually not a good sign that the comment was a minor infraction.

  15. If it’s Hashem’s ratzon that you’ll be rehired soon, please don’t turn into a complaint nick about any aspect of your new job to any one you’ll be working with. You just never know.

  16. seems like all the comments are missing the point. the point is dont send/record/post anything that can be damaging to your reputation. the internet is a dangerous place dont take any chances

  17. Many people have correctly pointed out that it’s very possible for your boss to have accessed this without your friend doing anything. Whay not ask him point blank (if you can remain calm while doing so)? If he responds that he was guilty, let him be aware of the consequences of his actions. 1) he may feel responsible to help you get employment 2) he needs to do teshuva.

  18. Maybe your boss was looking for a reason to fire you anyway…maybe you shmooze too much and kvetche and complain about your job amd hardly work and this was the “excuse” your boss used to finally get rid of you.

    Dont know why you are upset as you yourself said you didnt like your job.

    And its really hard to find employees now so if your boss fired you then he must not be going off one txt message…most probably your work ethics would not in any rewards.

    Good luck with a new job..if u sign into Lakewood Local on WhatsApp they advertise 20 jobs a day!!!!

  19. If this is the case than You should be happy not to be working there. Maybe you were saved you from a not good place. There are plenty of jobs hiring now dont worry and you’ll find a better job. Your parnassa does not depend on that job. Itll come from somewhere else!

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