Social media and the workplace

Two recent employment tribunal decisions highlight the importance and usefulness of a business having a properly drafted policy on the use of social media.

In the first, 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 the second, 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.

Businesses should adopt a social media policy and provide training to employees on the appropriate use of social media. This checklisthighlights the risks that a business and its employees should be aware of when sending e-mails or using social media.

For further information, please contact our Business Law Team.

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