Want to talk to an expert employment law solicitor?

You'll receive a callback from a specialist within an hour

A recent case in the Employment Tribunal highlights the problems that Facebook usage can cause for both employees and employers.

In Whitham v Club 24 Ltd. t/a Ventura the Claimant (Ms Whitwam) worked for Club 24 Ltd as a team leader. Club 24 Limited provided customer services for Skoda, part of the Volkswagen Group. This was an important contract for Club 24 Limited. The workforce at the Claimant’s workplace consisted of both Volkswagen Group and Club 24 Limited employees. The Claimant had previously had a clean disciplinary record at Club 24 Ltd.

On 14 September 2010 the Claimant (after an apparently “difficult day at work”) the Claimant posted on her Facebook account “I think I work in a nursery and I do not mean working with plants”. One of the Claimant’s former colleagues then posted a message on the Claimant’s ‘profile’ suggesting that the Claimant worked with “a lot of planks”. The Claimant replied “2 [sic] true”. At this time the Claimant had only approximately 50 friends on Facebook and had set her privacy settings so that those who were not her “friends” on Facebook could not see her messages.

The Claimant’s line manager was subsequently informed of the messages. He believed that the messages were “unacceptable” and proceeded to commence a disciplinary investigation. The Claimant was subsequently summarily dismissed for potentially harming the Respondent’s relationship with Volkswagen and for a breach of confidentiality (relating to her suspension).

The Tribunal found that the Claimant’s dismissal was unfair. The Claimant wasn’t complaining about Volkswagen but about her working conditions and the people that she was working with. It also considered that such “mild comments” that the Claimant had made would not have in reality resulted in Volkswagen terminating its contract with the Respondent. There was no evidence of any pressure from Volkswagen and it was found that the Respondent’s failure to obtain the views of a manager at Volkswagen was unreasonable. Further, the Respondent had failed to reasonably consider alternative sanctions such as demotion and failed to put that option to the Claimant. They further found that the Claimant would have accepted that alternative should it have been put to her. The Claimant also had strong professional and personal mitigating circumstances. The Tribunal therefore found that the dismissal was outside the range of reasonable responses. However the Claimant was deemed to be 20% at fault.

This case emphasises a number of points for both employers and employees:

Employees

  • Be careful of what you post on Facebook (obviously!)

Employers

  • Employ a social media policy. This is essential.
  • Ensure that your employees are aware of the existence of and terms of the social media policy.
  • Ensure that your employees are aware of the terms of your confidentiality policies
  • Ensure that you conduct your investigatory and disciplinary policy fairly
  • Take into account the views and mitigating circumstances of any employee in relation to any allegations

About

Redmans Employment Team deal with employment matters for both employers and employees, including drafting employment contracts and policies, advising employers and employees on compromise agreements, handling day-to-day HR issues, advising on restructures, and handling Employment Tribunal cases for both employers and employees Call 020 3397 3603 to speak to one of the members of our employment team or email us on enquiries@redmans.co.uk. Redmans have offices in Richmond, Chiswick, Hammersmith, Fulham, Kingston, Wimbledon, Ealing, Kings Cross and Marylebone (meetings strictly by appointment only).

Want to talk to an expert employment law solicitor?

You'll receive a callback from a specialist within an hour

Share →

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

 

Our awards

Request a callback

Your first name (required)

Your last name (required)

Your email (required)

Your telephone number (required)

Brief details of your enquiry

Contact us

Please feel free to discuss your own position and concerns. Contact your nearest office on:

T: 020 3397 3603
E: enquiries@redmans.co.uk
W: www.redmans.co.uk

Testimonials

4.76 Average

204 Reviews

Anonymous

Excellent advice and customer service.

Posted 1 month ago

Aneet G

I would definitely recommend Redmans. Very impressed with service provided. They were extremely proactive in handling my case which made things easier for me. Provided sound advice and resolution. Special credit for this goes to Chris who dealt with my case with great determination and consideration.

Posted 1 month ago

Fern M

Very efficient and friendly

Posted 1 month ago

Neville S

A professional and friendly service, which I would highly recommend.

Posted 1 month ago

Daniel T

Extremely helpful and made a bad situation much more manageable. Where other solicitors seemed disinterested in my situation Redmans immediately made me feel like it was a team effort to achieve a more favourable outcome

Posted 1 month ago

Paul T

Excellent, quick and informative. Chris was a real star and gave me confidence during the uncertainty if a redundancy settlement.

Posted 1 month ago

Marina E

Felt in very capable hands was listened to and given excellent advice. Would not hesitate to recomend and use again if needed.

Posted 1 month ago

Rosa B

Fabulous service all round.

Posted 1 month ago

Anonymous

Redmans were quick to respond to my enquiry and dealt with my case professionally and personably. I received sound advice and was put at ease by Chris Hadrill, Partner.

Posted 1 month ago

Alkhas K

Excellent service.

Posted 1 month ago

Mathias G

Contacted them regarding my end of employment agreement. Chris Hadrill dealt with it and was done and handed back to employer same day more than happy with there service.

Posted 2 months ago

Mark W

Most professional from start to finish offering very a personal service. Most impressive and quick when dealing with the matters in hand.

Posted 3 months ago

Anonymous

Posted 3 months ago

submit

I am very glad I came across Redmans Solicitors. Fantastic service!

Posted 3 months ago

Anonymous

Fantastic communication, always happy to answer queries, highly recommended.

Posted 3 months ago

Wavenie B

They were very straight to the point, friendly and understanding people. I felt they had my best interest. They were easy to get hold of, replies were almost instant. 5/5 for customer service

Posted 3 months ago

Christina P

Caroline was fantastic to work with - extremely knowledgeable, supportive, thorough and honest. I definitely recommend Redmans!

Posted 3 months ago

Anonymous

Very well done and fast support. Professional and reliable. Highly recommended!

Posted 3 months ago

Helene L

They were very knowledgable in the respected area in terms of change in law/regulations that is crucial for the clients who are seeking for legal arvice.

Posted 3 months ago

Sara R

Very helpful and wonderful advice

Posted 3 months ago

Marie D

very good service all digitalised

Posted 3 months ago