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When you CAN'T dismiss an employee
comments made via social media - Part 1
Wednesday, 5th February, 2014
By Jessica Oldfield
In today's Workplace Bulletin:
- How to protect your business from the risks of social media
- Case study: Fired for a Facebook comment – Part 1
As we've discussed in a past bulletin (see HERE), employers are able to dismiss employees for conduct on social media.
However, an employer doesn't always have the right to dismiss an employee for conduct on social media. This week, Charles Power is going to take us through a case in which an employee made a claim for unfair dismissal after she was fired due to comments she made through social media.
But before we get to today's article, I just wanted to remind you all about our eBook, Social Media & The Law…
How to protect your business from the risks of social media
Portner Press' 40-page eBook Social Media and the Law: Managing the Legal Risks for Your Business is written by Employment Law Practical Handbook Editor-in-Chief Charles Power, and it covers:
- The legal risks your business faces due to social media - and how to minimise them
- How to regulate and monitor your employees' social media use
- Where you stand if your business' confidential information gets shared online
- How to implement and enforce a legally sound social media policy
- And more!
Social Media and the Law: Managing the Legal Risks for Your Business will help you build and implement a legally sound social media policy for your business - one that maximises the opportunities and minimises the risks when you or people working for you use social media.
It costs just $49.95, and you can download it right now here.
Over to Charles…
Finally – an easy way to understand everything you need to know to run your self-managed super fund IN FULL – from setting it up, to complying with difficult and ever-changing super legislation, to the investment rules you need to follow and more…
Case study: Fired for a Facebook comment – Part 1
By Charles Power
Editor-in-Chief, Employment Law Practical Handbook
The New Year sees yet another unfair dismissal case about an employee dismissed for a private Facebook comment. In this case (Judith Wilkinson-Reed v Launtoy Pty Ltd trading as Launceston Toyota  FWC 644), the Commission found in favour of the employee.
The dismissed employee was the Human Resources Manager who also happened to be good friends with the wife of the business owner.
After it was revealed that the business owner was having an affair, the employee had a private Facebook conversation with the wife in which the employee said:
- she believed the owner had taken a dislike to another employee;
- the business was conducting a staff survey and some staff had told her they cannot wait to be able to tell the business anonymously exactly what they think of the owner; and
- another person had told her that the owner is called 'tosser' by most in the motor vehicle world in Launceston.
The owner accessed his estranged wife's email account and dismissed the employee for the comments.
The Commission ruled that the dismissal was unfair. The comment about the owner taking a dislike to another employee was not serious enough to justify dismissal. The remark was not made to another employee or a customer of the business and, would have remained private to the parties to the conversation had the owner not. It was certainly not such a serious breach of confidentiality as to justify dismissal.
On Friday, I will go into more detail about the Commission's ruling.
Employment Law Practical Handbook
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