Some of us are guilty of an angry tweet now and then in the heat of the moment, but what if this angry tweet was on your public profile and insulted your place of work?
This was the case in Creighton v Together Housing Association Ltd where the employment tribunal held that an employee was fairly dismissed. This was after making offensive comments about his colleagues and his employer on Twitter up to 3 years prior.
Mr Creighton had been a long-term employee of Together Housing Association. In 2014, an investigation begun into the alleged bullying of another employee where several derogatory comments were found on his open twitter account, made a few years beforehand. The employer took disciplinary action against Mr Creighton. Although the bullying allegations were dismissed, the employer dismissed Mr Creighton for gross misconduct over his tweets.
The employment tribunal disregarded his arguments that he believed his twitter profile was private, that they were posted 2-3 years ago, and that he deserved to be treated “sympathetically” for his 30 years of service.
Employees and employees must be careful with the use of social media; damage control can be difficult once a comment is in the public eye. If you don’t have a policy in place, you should have – and also you will need to make sure employees know about it. It’s best to make sure that your employees understand that we all have days when we want to have a whinge about work, but as a word of warning, they need to think before they tweet!