Bloggers Beware! (…and other users of technological modes of communication)

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By Tiana Daly.

It is disturbing how many people are using blogs and other modes of technological communication such as Facebook to make comment about dissatisfaction with their bosses businesses. While the employee may not take it too seriously, the employer can suffer real damage to the company’s reputation and loss of business.

Recently a distressed employer came to me after becoming aware one of his employees posted a comment on Facebook “My F**** boss won’t give me overtime. I will show them when I F***** resign and tell everyone what a F**** mess the place is in.”

While the employer could not physically stop the worker posting damaging remarks outside of work hours, measures could still be put in place to prevent and police this sort of behaviour so that the damage could be contained before it escalated.

We can help employers deal with situations like this delicately and appropriately without adding further risk.

A sober warning to employers is a recent case where an employee of a hairdresser was terminated after making derogatory remarks about the hairdressing industry, her employer and her poor Christmas bonus.

Commissioner Michelle Bissett hearing the matter said “a Facebook posting, while initially undertaken outside working hours, does not stop once work recommences. It remains on Facebook until removed, for anyone with permission to access the site to see. It would be foolish of employees to think they may say as they wish on their Facebook page with total immunity from any consequences”.

The Commissioner set out that the behaviour was inappropriate, although she found that while the ‘foolish outburst’ might have caused trouble with the employer and employees relationship, it hadn’t damaged the business and was not sufficient to warrant termination.

As each case is decided on its own individual facts, it is important to seek legal advice to assist with determining whether to terminate your employee or take other remedial action.

For further information, contact the Workplace Law Team.

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