Cast your mind back to England playing in the finals of the Euros. What’s the one thing that stands out in your memory? Probably not the missed penalties but rather the unacceptable, abhorrent racial abuse directed at the players afterwards. So, what would you do if you discovered that one of your employees was a culprit? Do you think it’s an employer’s place to take action for this kind of behaviour outside of the workplace? And how far can you go when it comes to taking action? If you’re asking yourself, Can I Fire an Employee for a Social Media Post?, it’s time to find out.
Social Media in the Workplace
Social media has become an ingrained aspect of our daily lives. It has such a reach that it wouldn’t be unheard of for a client or prospective client to search for both your business and team members online. How would it affect your working relationship if they were to see a troubling social media post by one of your employees?
It could be very damaging for a business. That’s why we would expect a company to discipline an employee if this kind of thing occurred. As a business, you need to demonstrate a zero-tolerance stance on racism and other anti-social behaviour.
If the post was a comment made in the workplace, you would certainly have to speak to your employee about it. The outcome of the conversation may be a disciplinary or a verbal warning, depending on the severity of the comment. And that’s how you should deal with social media posts too. This includes old posts that resurface.
Monitoring Social Media
While we don’t recommend that you obsess over monitoring staff social media, it is worth checking in on accounts if you feel there is a reason to. For example, if another member of the team has made a complaint or flagged something up to you.
This is something that you should be open and honest about with your people. Covert monitoring of their social media accounts has the potential to destroy the trust in your working relationship or could result in unfair dismissal claims.
Remember, if you do find yourself in a situation where you need to fire an employee because of their behaviour online, it’s important that you follow a fair process in line with the ACAS code of practice.
Social Media Policy
We think the best way forward is by creating a social media policy so your employees know what you expect of them when posting online. Your employees represent your company and it’s important they are aware that unacceptable behaviour can have a negative impact on your business. A social media policy should look at:
- Potential security and legal risks
- The consequences of sharing confidential company information
- Sharing illegal behaviour online
- Sharing defamatory content about the company
- plus much more
Do you have a policy on social media in your company handbook? If not, perhaps it’s time you created one so that your people are in no doubt of the consequences of such behaviour. You can contact us now on 01383 668 178 or firstname.lastname@example.org for any further support.