Having a Social Media Policy for the workplace is an essential safeguard for all employers in the social media age. It is no longer a luxury, it is a necessity.
But did you know that simply implementing a Social Media Policy won’t necessarily protect employers in post-termination disputes?
Misuse of social media in the workplace may be a valid reason for terminating an employee, especially where a Social Media Policy is in place.
But the dismissal can still be considered ‘unfair’ if the employer fails to afford the employee procedural fairness when investigating allegations of:
What does this mean? Among other things, it means an employer must provide an employee opportunity to respond to allegations, preferably in writing.
You might think that calling your boss a ‘pig’ on Facebook would be automatic grounds for dismissal. In a recent case, an employee who did exactly that was terminated – obviously. But the employee’s termination was only found to have been valid because:
This case highlights the importance of affording employees procedural fairness, even where a senior executive is arguably defamed on social media.
Ignorance is bliss – sometimes. Employees’ attention must be specifically brought to the Social Media Policy, as a lack of evidence that an employee was informed may be factually equivalent to not having one at all.
In the LED Technologies’ case, where a salesman posted a crude, offensive Facebook update while on the road for work, the Fair Work Commission found there was no valid reason for dismissal because:
To mitigate the risk of unfair dismissal claims, employers should:
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Mr Damian O’Keefe v Williams Muir’s Pty Limited  FWA 5311; Linfox Australia Pty Ltd v Glen Stutsel  FWAFB 7097.
Mr Michael Fitzpatrick v Bunnings Group Ltd t/a Bunnings  FWC 1869,  and .
Stephen Campbell v Qube Ports Pty Ltd t/a Qube Ports & Bulk  FWC 1211.
Colby Somogyi v LED Technologies Pty Ltd  FWC 1966.
Posted on: 23 August 2017