Conduct on social networking sites such as Facebook could land employers (and, of course, employees) in hot water --- depending on the circumstances, the employer may have the right to discipline the employee and, in some extreme cases, terminate them. Either way, employers should sit up and take notice of the potential impact (both positive and negative) social networking has on their businesses and, more importantly, set guidelines for employee conduct for it can be argued that expected employee behaviour extends beyond the office walls.
So how can employees get into trouble doing their "social networking" thang? Here are some extreme examples selected from Human Resources Leader magazine:
- Overzealous use of Facebook when "under the weather" Last April, a Swiss insurance worker was fired after posting to Facebook while off work sick. To get the day off, the woman told management she could not work in front of a computer because her migraines required she lie in the dark. Her employer, Nationale Suisse, said it wasn't the act of being on Facebook, but rather the excuse given that destroyed its trust in the employee, according to the Huffington Post.
- Letting off steam about work on Facebook In November of last year, Virgin Atlantic terminated 13 cabin staff after they posted remarks on Facebook criticising the airline and some of its passengers. In the comments, passengers as "chavs" (in Australia, something akin to "bogan"). They also claimed the planes were full of cockroaches. "There is a time and a place for Facebook. But there is no justification for it to be used as a sounding board for staff of any company to criticise the very passengers who ultimately pay their salaries," a Virgin Atlantic spokesman explained.
- Posting questionable photos of the boss (or yourself) on Facebook In June 2008, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd asked that office and household staff remove their Facebook profiles after one executive assistant posted party pictures from the PM's 17-day trip to the US.