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Social media and your boss: be careful with what you post!

A social media rant about your boss or the company you work for can be tempting. But does it ever actually get anyone into real trouble?

Yes, it does.

Poster beware

There are plenty of cases where employees and bosses have come to grief over social media posts.

Take for instance Mary Jane Anders v The Hutchins School, a recent case heard by the Fair Work Commission (FWC).

Background

The case involved the alleged unfair dismissal of a teacher.

The teacher had made derogatory remarks about her employer on Facebook while she was employed and before her employment was terminated (it was terminated for multiple alleged reasons). 

After she was terminated, the teacher lodged an unfair dismissal application seeking reinstatement.

Her former employer argued that it had valid reasons for terminating her, one of which was the posting of the derogatory comments on Facebook.

What the FWC said

The Commission rejected the employer’s arguments and found that (for multiple reasons) the teacher had been unfairly dismissed.

Importantly though, when it came to remedies, the FWC found that because the teacher had made the derogatory comments on Facebook it would not be appropriate to “reinstate” her.

In short, the damage to the relationship had already been done on social media and so the teacher didn’t get the remedy she wanted.

The takeout

This case shows that negative posting on social media can hurt you and can play a role in denying you the remedy you want, should you be unlucky enough to find yourself in a dispute with your employer.

Yet another example of conduct on social media being treated by the law as relevant and powerful – perhaps more so than you thought.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
David Kelly is the founder of KHQ Approved, a fixed fee commercial contract review service. Peace of mind from an experienced team for a reasonable price.
 

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