Employment Law Explained

Category Archives: social media

CTB: Is it The End of the World As We Know It?

 

CTB has finally been named as the footballer taking on Twitter, following John Hemmings “outing” of him today in Parliament. You will already know the facts and history, so here are my thoughts on a case that clearly raises substantial issues affecting the issue of privacy, the constitutional settlement, the future shape of the media and, at its most extreme, the future of the nation state;

  1. It is wrong that an MP should hide behind parliamentary privilege in order to breach the terms of a court injunction. It threatens the separation of powers and undermines the credibility of the courts. John Hemmings has achieved his ambition of 15 minutes of fame.

Employer was Justified in Sacking Employee for Comments on Facebook

Employers often wonder what steps they can take to discipline an employee who misuses social media, especially where the employee claims that the employer was not identified. Liverpool ET dismissed a claim by a Bar Manager recently where her status updates on Facebook were used to dismiss her for gross misconduct.

In Preece v J D Wetherspoons PLC , the Claimant had had to eject two customers (“Brian” and “Sandra”) who were both, as it seems, elderly.  They had been disruptive. A while later the Claimant received three abusive telephone calls from Brian and Sandra’s daughter in short succession.

Just been made redundant? Don’t forget …

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If your employment has just ended,  not just for redundancy but for any reason, did you sign a compromise agreement? Perhaps you entered into a COT3 via ACAS to settle the dispute?

If you did there’s a good chance you will have signed up to a clause that says;

“You shall not at any time after the termination of your employment represent yourself as  being interested in or employed by or in any way connected with [name of ex-employer]”

Jobsworth on TV

Recently I was interviewed on Legal Network TV (part of the College of Law’s Multimedia Unit), for their guide on social media in the workplace. The programme is aimed at law firms and is split into two parts. For more details please click here.

The first part of the programme is covered by Christopher Sherliker of Silverman Sherliker solicitors (and of @London_Law_Firm fame) where he discusses why solicitors should use social media and the second part is on the issues that employers face from social media usage in and around the workplace. That’s my bit.

Misuse of Social Media Won’t Always be Grounds for Summary Dismissal

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Image via CrunchBase

I’ve written on many occasions before about how employers need to have a usage policy for social media to guide employees on what is and is not acceptable use of Facebook, Twitter, blogs etc. As the recent (unreported) case of Stephens v Halfords PLC has shown, merely having a policy is not a magic panacea in itself.  Employers must act reasonably in enforcing that policy.

Halfords apparently has a social media usage policy which prohibits employees making any comments on social media platforms that were not in the best interests of the company or that encouraged dissent. That seems rather oppressive, if correctly stated but that’s another issue.

Can You Joke In The Workplace?

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If you make a lewd comment or joke at work, might you be in trouble? Following the case of Laura Bowater this week the answer is yes, you may be.

It doesn’t take the law any further forward than it was before but it does highlight how workplace situations can get out of hand.

Ms  Bowater was a nurse at the end of her shift at the Central Middlesex Hospital.  She was called upon by a colleague to assist in restraining a naked male patient who was having an epileptic fit.  At some point in the process she ended up astride him, near his genitals and said “‘It’s been a few months since I have been in this position with a man underneath me”.

Blogging and the Workplace

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If you’re a blogger, should what you write about online be any concern of your employer? A case before the East London ET is dealing with the vexed issue of reputational damage to an employer caused by an employee in their spare time.

Allen & Overy, the Magic Circle City law firm would say yes, having dismissed Deirdre Clarke, formerly a Senior Associate in their Moscow office and author of the Philosophy Can be Sexy blog.

Can You Slag Off Your Boss on Facebook?

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Have you ever ranted about your boss or a fellow worker using Facebook, or social media?  If yes, what happened?

In the USA an “emergency medical technician” (what’s that, a paramedic?) was fired for slagging off her boss on Facebook.  Yesterday, the New York Times carried a report on the actions of the National Labor Relations Board  (“NRLB”) (a US business-union forum for supervising industrial relations it would seem) which filed a complaint alleging that the employer had breached the National Labor Relations Act which, according to the report, protects workers from being disciplined for discussing working conditions or unionization.

Facebook May be Denied to German Recruiters

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The New York Times reported recently that Germany is considering introducing legislation to outlaw employers from searching on Facebook and other purely social websites to “research” job candidates.  It would be permissible for them to look on sites like LinkedIn, which are business oriented, but would prevent “personal” information being used in the recruitment process.

Old News Rehashed:Employers Warned to Monitor Social Media Usage at Work

A survey by a firm of recruitment consultants has shown that more than 50% of employees admit to using social media during working hours. More than 33% claim to spend more than 30 minutes per day on “the likes of” Facebook, MySpace and Twitter during working hours, costing the UK up to £14 billion in “lost productivity”.  Click here for the report in Personnel Today.