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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 46769
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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I made a comment on my facebook page regarding not getting

Customer Question

I made a comment on my facebook page regarding not getting a promotion at work for ajob i had already been covering on and off for the last12months. My wife alsomade some comments on her facebook page and tagged me in. Neither of us mentionedthe name of the company or named any employees of the company. Because of this i have been suspended with a view to being let go from the company for grose misconduct. Can they fire me for this.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 3 years ago.
Hello, my name is XXXXX XXXXX it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. can you tell me how long you have been with your employer please
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

7 years


 

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 3 years ago.
Whether or not an employer can take disciplinary action or even dismiss an employee as a result of their activity on social media is a tricky issue. A balance must be struck between an employee's right to private life and the employer's right to not only protect its business and reputation but also its employees.

Employers should only take formal action against an employee's use of social networking websites where there are valid concerns about this having a detrimental effect on the business, including any adverse effect on other employees. Common examples can include:
• Comments that can amount to bullying or harassment of other employees
• Complaints about the employer that can bring the business into disrepute or affect its reputation
• Serious breach of commercial confidentiality.

It is also important to consider the potential readership of these comments, for example how public they were made. If the settings were private and only a limited number of people not related to the business could read them, then the seriousness of the offence may not be great. Similarly, if there was no way of identifying the employer from the comments or from your personal information, it would be difficult for the employer to argue there was damage done to its reputation.

If the comments concerned another member of staff and that person saw them or another employee took offence, disciplinary action can be justified although the punishment would need to be determined in line with established employment law principles. These would include examining the nature of the comments and how serious they were (e.g. racist, sexist or other seriously offensive comments could justify dismissal), the employee’s disciplinary record and length of service (the longer one has worked there and if their disciplinary record is clean, the more an employer should think about issuing a warning rather than dismissing).

In summary, it is entirely possible for disciplinary action to be taken in the circumstances but the outcome needs to be carefully considered taking into account the nature of the comments, the context in which they were made and how they have affected the business and/or other employees.

In your particular case dismissal would be somewhat harsh so they should look at a warning instead, although they cannot be stopped from dismissing you if they really wanted to. It would then mean challenging that by making a claim for unfair dismissal in the employment tribunal.

I hope this has answered your query. Please take a second to leave a positive rating, or if you need me to clarify anything before you go - please get back to me and I will assist further as best as I can. Thank you
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 46769
Experience: Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
Ben Jones and 2 other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I was taken into the office for an investigation into this matter, which was conducted by the head of hr and reginal manager i was not given any notice of the meeting so was unable to ask anyone to come into the meeting as a representative or make notes during the meeting. And was woundering if the company had followed the correct procedures.

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 3 years ago.
ok leave with me
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thankyou

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 3 years ago.
I will get back ASAP
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 3 years ago.
Hi, if you only attended an investigatory meeting then you don't have the legal right to have a representative with you anyway - that only applies to a formal disciplinary hearing. So unless you have had the formal disciplinary hearing yet, you would not have been entitled to bring anyone else with you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Should you have notice of the meeting as non was given

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 3 years ago.
Yes you should have been given notice, the ACAS Code of Conduct Guidance states "If an investigatory meeting is held, give the employee advance warning and time to prepare."
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Would this have any effect on the outcome of the investigation. Since the guidlines were not followed fully.

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 3 years ago.
it would really depend on what would have changed had you been given the notice. Remember you still have time to provide any evidence and address the issues at any forthcoming disciplinary so usually the repercussions would not be so serious that the whole procedure would be unfair
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Is their anything my wife can do about the company printing of conversations between herself and friends on her facebook page as she is not friends with my employer or any of the managment concerned

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 3 years ago.
Not really I’m afraid – anything posted on Facebook is basically placed in the public domain. It may have been on her profile which was private but there is no expectation of privacy if you post something on there – it is still the public domain.

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