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Social Media: Friend or Foe?

As Mr Teggart, a former employee of TeleTech Ltd recently found out, an individual can legitimately be dismissed from employment, where they have been found to be Bullying and Harassing a fellow employee via social media, even when this occurs outside of the workplace.  In this case, Mr Teggart, made offensive comments about a fellow employee on his Facebook page, at home, on his private computer.  Having seen his comments, fellow employees or Facebook friends made the individual aware of the comments and someone even reported them to the employer.

Upon investigating the claims, TeleTech, took the decision to dismiss Mr Teggart for Bullying and Harassment and bringing the Company into disrepute.  Mr Teggart, believing that this action was unfair and a breach of his Human Rights, launched tribunal proceedings against the Company.  Whilst the tribunal dismissed the Company’s claim of them being brought into disrepute as a result of their former employee’s actions, they upheld the Bullying and Harassment claim, stating that his actions had caused the individual about whom the comments were made, to have to take time of work and had violated her dignity by creating a degrading working environment.

Whilst this judgement serves as a warning to employees about how they behave on Facebook and other Social Media, it also sends a clear message to employers about ensuring that they take Social Media seriously and consider its place within their Company.  As a basic, all Companies should have a policy on Social Media, ensure that policy is up to date, reflective of best practice and that the consequences of breaching the policy are clearly communicated.

However, many Companies are taking this even further by looking at how they can take the power of Social Media into their own hands, using it as a tool to increase communication and engagement.  Eastern Western Motor Group are one of a number of Companies who have created their own Facebook page to be used by both the Company and its employees to share news and information on the Company itself and the brands they represent.  Further, it allows the Company to gather the thoughts and views of their employees, almost instantaneously, ensuring they have their finger on the pulse when it comes to making decisions that affect their people.

Here at Solve. we believe that forewarned is forearmed, therefore, whether you view Social Media as friend or foe, it is important to be aware of its continued popularity, its presence, in even the smallest of workplaces and how it can be used to your advantage.

Do you need help creating a Social Media Policy? Perhaps you need advice on how to make Social Media work for you and your employees?  Whatever your needs Solve. are here to help. Free Consultation. mail@solvehr.co.uk

When Solve. heard about this case at the CIPD Conference in Glasgow we wanted to find out how people feel about Social Media in the workplace.  Look out for our survey coming later this month.