Social media lends itself to people making comments on the spur of the moment, some of which may be intended as a joke, but are later regretted. But when it relates to your workplace, it can cost you dearly.
It is increasingly becoming a source of friction in employment law, with some recent decisions shedding light on how employees can be caught out.
We asked our legal expert Philip Landau to explain more…
“You may have read about the general issue before – how the posting of adverse comments relating to your work can get you into trouble.
But with a string of recent cases, some of which have reached the employment tribunals, there is a potent reminder of the perils of posting about your workplace or colleagues on Facebook and other social media sites, especially where this is in clear breach of your employer’s social media policy.
What has been highlighted is how the tribunals are prepared to uphold an employer’s decision to dismiss an employee for their social media comments regardless of the fact that there may have been privacy settings in place to restrict posts to a limited group of friends and family. The tribunals’ message appears clear: once your workplace comments are posted on a social media site, they transcend the cloak of privacy regardless of your personal settings and become “public” and therefore open to scrutiny.
It is worth highlighting some of the recent decisions which show how the law is developing:
Many cases of dismissals for social media abuse won’t get as far as tribunals, of course. Indeed, earlier this year, according to figures revealed under the Freedom of Information Act, it was reported that 11 civil servants were confirmed to have been dismissed from the Department of Work and Pensions because of their use of Twitter and Facebook in breach of the Department’s social media policy. None of the affected employees had issued proceedings.
These decisions do represent a wake-up call to exercise caution in what you post online, even if only to your “friends” on Facebook. This is particularly so where your Facebook friends include past and present work colleagues, or members of the public who could be customers or associated in other ways with your employer. You cannot after all, predict who will read your comments, or in whose hands they will end up.”
Jobsite have partnered with specialist employment law solicitor Philip Landau, to bring you expert advice on your rights in all key areas of your working life. As a Jobsite user you are also entitled to receive a free initial consultation on all employment law issues from Philip. Philip can help with a number of legal problems; perhaps you feel your employer isn’t following their legal responsibilities, you believe you have been dismissed unfairly or you are unsure about clauses in your contract. Once he knows your specific situation he can let you know what your rights are and what action you can take. To get in touch with Philip, click the link below and he will contact you to discuss your situation in more detail. Philip Landau is a solicitor and partner, specialising in employment law, in the London legal firm Landau Zeffertt Weir.
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