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Posts from the ‘Workplace Policies’ Category

Employee fairly dismissed for vulgar Facebook comments…

26/04/2012

Mark Jackson

In a decision given in March 2012, an Industrial Tribunal in Northern Ireland has held that an employee was fairly dismissed for making vulgar comments about a female colleague on his Facebook page.

In the case of Teggart -v- Tele Tech UK Limited, the Tribunal held that an employee was fairly dismissed because comments which he posted on his Facebook page amounted to harassment of a female colleague and breached the employer’s Dignity at Work Policy.

The claimant was employed at a call centre in Belfast. He posted obscene comments about a female colleague on his Facebook page from home. The comment mentioned his employer’s name and was read by some other work colleagues. It was alleged that the comment had been brought to the employer’s attention by a member of the public. The female colleague heard about the comments and asked the claimant’s girlfriend if he would remove them. However that led the claimant to simply post further comments. Read more

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The London 2012 Olympics – your employees may be getting ready, are you?

10/01/2012

Mark Jackson

On your marks, get set, go….

The 2012 Olympics are six months away and employers are encouraged to start planning now for possible disruptions.  Recent surveys indicate that up to one in six of the UK’s employees is planning on pulling a “sickie” to watch the Olympics on television.  That includes employees in Northern Ireland.  What then can employers do now to try to avoid any potential disruption? Read more

New rights to be given to agency workers in Northern Ireland…

23/08/2011

Mark Jackson

The Department for Employment and Learning has confirmed that temporary agency workers in Northern Ireland will be given important new rights under the EU Agency Workers Directive – see link.

The Employment and Learning Minister, Dr Stephen Farry, has indicated the Department will bring the necessary legislation into effect by 5 December 2011.

It is likely the legislation will largely mirror the English equivalent, the Agency Worker Regulations 2010, which come into operation in England and Wales on 1 October 2011.  Those Regulations give temps and agency workers some of the same rights as full-time staff from their first day on the job.  After 12 weeks in the same job, as indicated by the Minister, the new regulations will grant temps the same pay and overtime rates as your permanent employees, as well as paid holiday.

It is estimated that one half of temp assignments are longer than 12 weeks, and the Department’s own website indicates there are some 22,000 temporary agency workers in Northern Ireland.  That means a considerable number of businesses in Northern Ireland will be affected.

So, if you employ temps for more than 12 weeks at a time, are there any steps you can take to prepare before 5 December 2011? Read more

Why just having a social media policy isn’t enough…

11/08/2011

Mark Jackson

In our last post, Social Media and Employment, we commented that if employers are to implement a social media policy then it needs to fit with their business.  We finished off by saying that such a policy needs to be interpreted properly, and that the employer still needs to act reasonably.

We looked at the risks of not having a properly prepared social media policy, and in turn the reasons why employers should have such a policy, in our post Social Media in the workplace – do you have a policy?

However, simply having a policy in place isn’t necessarily going to avoid the risks identified in that post.  Employers must still act reasonably in enforcing a policy.  The case of Stephens -v- Halfords plc earlier this year demonstrates the point (see xPert HR for the summary) – a Facebook page criticising the employer was not held to justify dismissal. Read more

Social Media and Employment

04/08/2011

Mark Jackson

Following on from our last post about social media in the workplace, it is worth noting that Symantec, a global provider of IT security software, has recently published the results of its 2011 Social Media Protection Flash Poll, which was used to determine how businesses protect themselves from the negative consequences of using social media.

It found that 46% of companies have encountered employees sharing too much information in public forums and that 90% of respondents who had experienced a “social media incident” suffered negative consequences including damaged reputation, loss of customer trust and litigation costs.  So, as the popularity of social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook continues to rise (see our retweet @thompsons_law from @utv today – bit.ly/pJ9UJV), how can employers ensure that they minimise the risks presented by employees’ use of social media?

The answer?  Implement a social media policy that fits with your business.

However you’ll need to make sure that you interpret it properly and act reasonably if it’s breached – more on that to follow soon…