Springhouse Solicitors

Facebook comments: fair dismissal

A recent Facebook dismissal case heard by a Tribunal in Northern Ireland, has made some interesting findings which add to the developing law in this area.

An employee of TeleTech UK Limited posted a vulgar comment concerning a colleague on his Facebook page. The comment referenced the colleague by name, along with TeleTech. He was dismissed for gross misconduct; for harassing the employee and bringing TeleTech into disrepute. The employee argued that the posting was a private matter and that he had a human right to a private life.

The Tribunal agreed that the comments amounted to harassment under TeleTech’s policy, and justified the dismissal for gross misconduct.

However, they did not find that TeleTech could rely on its name being brought into disrepute: they had no evidence for this.

The Tribunal also decided that the employee could not rely on his human right to a private life in making the posting as there was nothing private about what he had done.