Netflix Fired 3 Executives for Slack Chat: More to the Story

In July, Netflix fired three senior executives for airing complaints against two company leaders via Slack messages the executives viewed as private. An uninvolved employee discovered months of their venting messages on an unlocked employer channel.  

It’s about time

While many social media commenters came to the three managers’ defense, Netflix may have made the right decision.

These managers vented to each other for months.

Netflix’s leaders’ decision made it clear that pile-on venting among three people it considered senior executives was not okay. Unlike other companies that create lofty codes of conduct that aren’t worth the paper they’re written on, Netflix leaders’ action made it clear they stood behind their values.


Netflix’s decision set off a social media defense of venting. Many defenders said, “everyone vents” and venting isn’t “so bad.”

When I didn’t agree with the defenders but stated that venting sends toxicity into the air and we need to take responsibility for what we say, I expected to get trolled. That didn’t happen; increasingly other commenters agreed with me.

While everyone deserves the right to share their personal/professional concerns with others about challenging work situations, when those discussions go on for months, this circular venting rarely fixes problems and takes on a life of its own, with one person’s negativity adding to others’ negativity.

What about the classic 7th grader defense, “everyone does it?” That’s why the executives need to be role models for healthy ways for problematic situations and differences.

If you want a deeper dive into these issues, Managing for Accountability covers what it takes to live accountably, or Managing For Accountability: A Business Leader’s Toolbox – Business Expert Press.   


Some defenders believe Netflix violated these three executives’ privacy rights. They forgot the Slack channel was not locked and that employers may monitor employee use of employer-provided equipment (if the employer notifies employees when and how they are being monitored).

Employers may even use computer software programs to see what is on the screen or stored in each company-provided employee computer and file folder. Email systems used in organizations have no privacy expectations because employers own the systems. Here’s a post that outlines privacy rights when employees work from their homes,

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2 thoughts on “Netflix Fired 3 Executives for Slack Chat: More to the Story

  1. Important warnings and tips here–employees indeed should not expect and do not have privacy, even when working from home! Watch what you say, it may be being monitored! And mostly, it’s the employer’s right.

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