December 19, 2013

In trouble over twitter: dealing with inappropriate comments on social media

The head chef admitted to posting tweets from The Plough’s twitter page, which included statements such as - “unfortunately he wanted to have weekend off this month and Christmas day this year for family commitments so we thought we’d sack him” and “we don’t care that he has a 7 ½ month baby daughter”. He then added that the pub’s food was sourced from a local supermarket.

While the pub has responded denying the allegations, for employers cases like this highlight the need to be mindful of what systems and property employees have access to after their employment has ended, particularly when it has ended on bad terms.

Most businesses reap benefits from their employees using social media to promote the business and interact and communicate with their clients and prospective customers. However, this recent report highlights the risks involved in using social media, particularly if usage is not monitored or the employment relationship ends badly. Similarly, a number of cases have been reported about employees who use social media as a means of venting their frustrations while they are employed.

There have been a number of employees dismissed over comments made on social media sites, such as Facebook and twitter, when the comments have or could bring the company into serious disrepute.  Cases like this highlight the importance and usefulness of having a properly drafted social media policy in place to deal with employees who make inappropriate comments about their business, as well as ensuring that employees usage is closely monitored. For further advice on this issue, please contact our Employment team.

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