7 August 2015: Dismissal for Facebook postings:
If any employees think that they can say whatever they like on social media with impunity, they should think again.
In British Waterways Board v Smith  reported this week, the EAT held that it was fair to dismiss an employee who made some colourful and derogatory statements about his employer on Facebook, even though the employer had been made aware of the misconduct 12 months beforehand.
BWB’s social media policy prohibited any action on the internet which might embarrass or discredit it. His manager had known about the postings for over a year, but when they came up in a grievance hearing, he was suspended then dismissed for gross misconduct.
The EAT found that the dismissal was fair. The tribunal, which found that the dismissal was unfair, had substituted its own views for that of BWB. BWB was not criticised for the delay in escalating this to a disciplinary hearing. However it is still sensible to take disciplinary action without delay.
BWB deliberately searched for evidence against Mr Smith because he had raised grievances. This again did not render the dismissal unfair. Employees should expect that comments on social media will be viewed by their employer, sooner or later.
The case emphasises the importance of having an effective social media policy in place. Call our employment solicitors today to discuss social media policies, disciplinary action, and unfair dismissal.
We are employment lawyers based in Holborn, London. Call us today to discuss your issue.