Social media and the workplace: don’t get caught in the web!
By Miller Samuel Hill Brown on May 18th, 2011
Two recent employment tribunal decisions highlight the importance and usefulness of a business having a properly drafted policy on the use of social media by their employees.
In Preece v JD Wetherspoons plc ET2104806/10, the tribunal found that a pub manager was fairly dismissed for gross misconduct after she made inappropriate comments on Facebook about two of her customers, who had verbally abused and threatened her. The manager was found to be in breach of the employer’s e-mail and internet policy, which specifically referred to employees’ use of social media (including Facebook) while at work.
In Gosden v Lifeline Project Ltd ET/2802731/2009, the tribunal held that an employee was dismissed fairly for sending an offensive e-mail from his home computer to his colleague’s home computer. No privacy attached to the e-mail as it was a chain e-mail asking recipients to pass it on. The employer was entitled to treat his actions as gross misconduct justifying the dismissal.
With the ever increasing use and awareness of social media it is important for businesses to adopt a social media policy clearly setting out the standards expected of employees when using such sites, whether for personal or business reasons. Our employment team have now prepared a style social media policy which will assist employers in monitoring and responding to the use employees make of social media which will help to ensure that there are no implications for, or risks created to, an organisation’s business interests.
If you would like any further information on this matter, or are interested in obtaining our social media policy, please contact Stephen Connolly on 0141 227 6090.