Don't give up your day job...
In Canberra recently, an interior designer was fired from his day job at a design firm after his employer discovered he was using his LinkedIn page to promote the imminent growth of his personal business to a “full-time design company.”
The employee had sent a group email to his connections on LinkedIn, including current clients of the company he worked for, offering his services in a personal capacity. (http://www.smh.com.au/digital-life/digital-life-news/sacking-case-highlights-pitfalls-of-social-media-20130816-2s2bv.html)
The employer contacted him the following day, after hearing about the email, and terminated his employment. While the case was taken to the Fair Work Commission, it was ultimately dismissed, and Fair Work confirmed that the employer was within its rights to let the employee go. The Commissioner agreed that the employee had breached his employment obligations by soliciting current clients of the firm to set up a business in direct competition with his current employer.
This case serves as another reminder to employees to think twice before using social media inappropriately, and to be aware of the implications their actions could have on all aspects of their life (including work). It also serves as a reminder to employers to be on top of their employees’ use of social media.
How can you protect your business as an employer?
If you believe your staff are using social media inappropriately or are in breach of their employment contract or other workplace policies through their online activities it is important to address the situation appropriately, for example, by thoroughly investigating the employees conduct before implementing disciplinary action.
If you have concerns about your staff’s use of social media or feel they may be breaching their current employment conditions please contact one of our experienced Employment Lawyers on (02) 9635 6422.