People Management reports on a recent employment tribunal case in favour of Apple Retail, when it ruled that Apple was right to dismiss an employee who had posted negative comments about Apple on Facebook.
The employee’s defence was that the derogatory statements were private as they were on a private Facebook page and furthermore were made outside of working hours.
Key to the tribunal’s decision was that Apple had a clear social media policy in place and also made the policy clear in its induction process for new staff. The policy said that negative or critical comments about its product and brand were strictly prohibited. It ruled that Apple was right to dismiss the employee for gross misconduct.
The People Management article is by Jamie Hamnett, an employment partner at Addleshaw Goddard LLP.
The case highlights the absolute necessity of having a proper social media policy in place, but also the benefit of coupling this with an appropriate training and staff support programme. However, it also points to the need for professional reputation management and public relations support as the reputation risks make it far more important that than just a human resources or legal issue.