Old tweets from a personal account are enough to justify staff dismissal

Tue 7th Mar 2017

Philip Sayers, Employment lawyer at Coodes Solicitors, comments on a recent case that shows how negative tweets from years ago can justify staff dismissal.

“A recent case has highlighted the need for businesses to make employees aware of the consequences of posting derogatory comments on social media.”

“Mr Creighton was an employee of Together Housing Association, starting out as an apprentice and moving up through the ranks to become the company’s lead engineer. When he was accused of bullying another member of staff, the company investigated. Together Housing Association found derogatory comments about the company and some of its staff on Mr Creighton’s personal Twitter account.

“Although none of the tweets were recent, and some were three years old, his subsequent dismissal was deemed fair by a tribunal. Interestingly, the bullying allegations, which triggered the investigation, were dropped so Mr Creighton was dismissed for gross misconduct purely on the basis of his tweets.

“The tribunal argued that the fact that the tweets were historic was irrelevant as they were still there for anyone to see, so continued to have the potential to damage the business. The tribunal also pointed out the fact that Mr Creighton had been given the opportunity to explain his actions but had not given a satisfactory response.

“If an employee makes derogatory comments on social media platforms about your company or its staff then this can still be classified as ‘bringing the business into disrepute’ – the fact that their comments are on personal channels is irrelevant with social media channels in the public domain. We also discussed this in another recent blog.

“This case serves as a reminder to businesses to make staff aware of the potential consequences of posting on social media.”

For more information on this or any Employment enquiries contact Philip Sayers, Employment team, Coodes Solicitors on 01872 246200 or philip.sayers@coodes.co.uk

Tue 7th Mar 2017

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