CORINTH, Maine (NEWS CENTER) – The owners of Pomeroy’s Garage said they were attacked on the business’s Facebook page after users found a past employee was allegedly tied to an assault.
It is situation a number of businesses across the state have experienced—many reaching out to NEWS CENTER when they find themselves at the center of controversy.
For the Pomeroy family, they said users found the past employee’s personal Facebook profile where he listed the garage as his workplace.
Sharon Pomeroy said the individual was let go back in January and no longer has any connection to the business.
Pomeroy said many people took to their profile posting negative comments and sending hateful messages.
“In the past few days we have been notified multiple times that someone we fired over six months ago (for unrelated reasons) was involved in an assault last week,” Pomeroy said in a statement.
Following the backlash, Pomeroy said they have also had an outpouring of support from members of the community.
Many of them shared that support on the Facebook page.
“You’ve got my full support for what that’s worth. Your name and reputation stand far above what a former employee may have done. If anybody is blaming you in any way they are misinformed and ignorant,” Louis Molloy commented.
There are more than 144,000 small businesses in Maine, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration, making up more than 99 percent of all business here and hiring more than half of the state's workforce.
With family-owned businesses making up so much of the Maine economy, First Amendment lawyer Berney Kubetz said marketing through social media websites can be advantageous, but warned there are risks.
Kubetz told NEWS CENTER it can be difficult for small businesses to combat situations where people are sharing negative comments in a public forum. Kubetz warned that small businesses should be prepared when opening up a page on any social media site to the public.
“It’s a tricky forest to navigate through,” he said.
The Pomeroy’s said the former employee did remove the garage from his profile after they threatened legal action.
“We are a family-owned small business and we’re beyond mortified to have ever been associated with someone who would be involved in something like this,” the statement said in part. “If the victim of the assault reads this please know that we are thinking of you and wishing you well!"
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