Michigan man says posting a meme about pooping on company time led to him filing for bankruptcy after he was sued by his employer
- When a Michigan man posted a meme about work to Facebook in 2019, a lengthy legal battled ensued.
- After Cody Hidalgo said he'd been fired over the Elmo meme, his bosses hit him with a defamation lawsuit.
A Michigan man claims he lost his job and ultimately had to file for bankruptcy after he says his former employer fired him for posting a meme to his Facebook page about using the bathroom on company time.
Detroit resident Cody Hidalgo said he was let go from his job at masonry contractor Roman Stone Works in 2019 after his boss discovered he shared the now-viral meme, which features the "Sesame Street" character Elmo sitting atop a toilet. The post, shared on Hidalgo's personal account in October 2019, has since led to a contentious legal battle.
"Boss makes a dollar, I make a dime," the meme reads. "That's why I poop on company time."
Hours after posting the meme, Hidalgo, 23 at the time, said his manager and Roman Stone Works co-founder Andrew Ferenc sent him a message riddled with profanity about the photo he shared.
—Rob Freund (@RobertFreundLaw) May 16, 2023
"We don't make a dollar when (you're) shitting all the time. Why don't you stay home and do your shitting," Ferenc wrote. "I don't like to play your bullshit games. Maybe there's a company out there that would put up with your games cause I won't. Good luck!"
In the days following the heated text exchange, Hidalgo showed up to work, but eventually chose not to continue showing up.
"With the bad blood, I didn't want to work there anymore," he told ABC-affiliate WXYZ Detroit.
When Hidalgo told his Facebook friends he'd been fired over the meme, the post went viral and his employer sued him for defamation and tortious interference. In court filings, his former employers allege he was terminated from Roman Stone Works for ditching work.
According to the filing, Hidalgo failed to defend the defamation claims, and the court entered a default judgement of $150,000. Just over a year after the ruling, he filed for bankruptcy.
On Monday, a judge denied a motion filed by Ferenc and fellow co-owner Craig Cassel for a summary judgement, which would stop the case from going to trial.
The viral post about the firing led to online harassment of Roman Stone Works from supporters of Hidalgo. According to court documents, the company's business profiles were hacked and Ferenc and Cassel received hateful messages.
The Roman Stone Works Facebook page still receives comments related to the situation, including one as recently as two weeks ago.
"I love how you've called your ex employee childish a few times but it was you who fired him over a meme on his FB page," one Facebook user wrote. "That's the most childish thing I have ever seen."
Roman Stone Works did not immediately respond to Insider's request to comment.
In a statement to WXYZ Detroit, the company's lawyer Jan Jeffrey Rubinstein said Hidalgo "abandoned a job in progress and that was how his employment with Roman Stoneworks actually came to an end."
"Cody Hidalgo, as a short-term employee of Roman Stoneworks, has engaged in a social media campaign with false claims that are verifiably untrue," Rubinstein said in a statement. "This individual was not terminated because of a meme posted on Facebook on Sunday, October 20."
- I'm still the CEO, management remains unchanged: Byju Raveendran
- As many as 275 cases of rape in custody registered from 2017-22: NCRB
- Monthly household consumer spending more than doubled in last decade
- Billionaires to Bollywood: All invited to Anant Ambani's pre-wedding festivities
- No 'Mann ki Baat' broadcast for 3 months in view of polls: PM Modi