Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Is it possible to terminate an employee for making derogatory comments about work colleagues on social media?
If you wish to terminate an employee for making derogatory comments on social media you need to be aware of a recent decision in Fair Work Australia where such termination was found to be an unfair dismissal.
In this decision it was found that at the time of the dismissal, and at the time of the hearing, the employer did not have any policy relating to the use of social media by its employees. This was insufficient in the current electronic age.
In addition, it was accepted that the employee believed the comments posted on his Facebook page could only be viewed by himself and those he accepted as his Facebook friends. In essence, his Facebook page was not a web blog and was not intended to be on public display.
To protect your company against a successful unfair dismissal claim you should obtain expert legal advice on what policies need to be in place relating to use of social media by employees and when such comments justify dismissal.