Tag archives: social media

On allegations of sexual harassment made on social media in Quebec: what employers need to know

Over the last few weeks, several cases of sexual harassment allegations have been posted both openly and anonymously on social media in Quebec.

One issue that will surface for employers is how these public allegations should be handled when the actions, comments or gestures stem from one of their own employees.

First, provincially regulated employers need to make sure they have a psychological harassment prevention and complaint processing policy in place. This policy must be made available to employees and include a section on behaviour that manifests itself in the form of verbal comments, actions or gestures of a sexual … Continue Reading

Allégations de harcèlement sexuel sur les réseaux sociaux au Québec : ce que les employeurs doivent savoir

Au courant des dernières semaines, nous avons pu assister à de nombreuses dénonciations publiées sur les médias sociaux eu égard à des allégations de harcèlement sexuel, qu’elles soient publiées à visage découvert ou bien de manière anonyme.

Une question qui se pose pour un employeur est de déterminer comment gérer de telles allégations de nature publique lorsque ce sont les actes, paroles ou gestes d’un de ses employés qui sont en cause.

D’abord, en ce qui concerne les employeurs sous réglementation provinciale, ceux-ci doivent s’assurer de disposer d’une politique de prévention du harcèlement psychologique et de traitement des plaintes. Cette … Continue Reading

Employees’ freedom of speech on the Internet is not without boundaries

Books, hotels, restaurants, products: you can find reviews and rating websites for just about everything on the internet – even employers. However, employees posting internet reviews of their employer should be careful and measured in what they say, or risk being subjected to disciplinary measures  – or even dismissal – if they abuse their freedom of speech.

A recent decision of the French Supreme Court provides an illustration justifying such a warning.

A communication agency was warned by one of its clients that a very negative review had been posted (anonymously) on a website specializing  in publishing  reviews and rating … Continue Reading

Information collected via Facebook cannot – always – be used as evidence against an employee

Technology is ever-changing, and while in the past evidence of an employee’s misconduct was based mainly on “physical” witnesses and observations, employers might now be tempted to use data obtained through social media as evidence against their employees.

At the present time the French Supreme Court has not had many occasions to clarify the manner in which evidence obtained by French employers through the Facebook website (and more particularly on the “wall” of an individual) should be treated by the courts.… Continue Reading

The #MeToo Movement: When Employees Take Their Complaints to Social Media

As we are all aware, the news has been populated with stories concerning allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct, particularly in the entertainment and media industries as well as government institutions. These stories have contributed to the “#MeToo” movement, which originated on Twitter and other social media websites in late 2017 and has since become a widespread message on social media encouraging individuals to share their stories and speak out against sexual harassment and abuse. But while its purposes are laudable, the #MeToo movement is a touchy subject for employers, who ever-more-frequently find themselves accused of sexual harassment or other … Continue Reading

Use of social media in France: Employee’s rights and obligations

The impact of the use of social media in the workplace has regularly given rise to controversies and debates as how this subject is to be handled by a company’s management. The current state of employment law is still not entirely settled in this respect. It is however possible to provide some guidance on the most common issues arising from such use with regard to employment law (data protection regulations will not be considered in this article).

Access and control of social media in the workplace

As a general rule, employees are allowed to access the internet for non-professional purposes … Continue Reading

Monitoring of employees’ emails: Bărbulescu v. Romania

This post was co-written by Sabrina English, Trainee Solicitor, Norton Rose Fulbright LLP, London

A recent decision of the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights has held that an employer had infringed an employee’s rights under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights (the Convention) when it dismissed him for sending private messages via a work messaging system. This decision overturns the earlier decisions of the Fourth Section of the European Court of Human Rights and the domestic Romanian Courts (discussed in an earlier post) which had both ruled that there had been no violation … Continue Reading

How to use social media – and the consequences if you step out of line

Employees are under the mistaken belief that what they do in their time away from the office, specifically on social media, is private and beyond the reach of their employer’s control.

They fail to consider that they could face disciplinary action for their online rants and comments. This could be fatal to their employment. The reality is that with the escalating use of social media during working hours as well as outside of company time, employees are regularly coming under fire for what they post online.

Before a Facebook update, Tweet, or Instagram post is uploaded, (frankly, even if you’re … Continue Reading

Time to update your employee handbook

For many employers, the arduous task of reviewing and revising an employee handbook may occur as infrequently as every leap year, or worse, only after a law suit has been filed. However, recent decisions by the National Labor Relations Board (Board) should cause employers to take a much closer look at their employee policies and the frequency with which they update them.  Technological advances and changes have created new arenas for protected “concerted activity” under Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act (Act) and have caused the Board to take a closer look at employer policies that may violate … Continue Reading

Recent Ontario decision confirms that social media spaces are part of the workplace

The Amalgamated Transit Union, Local 113 v. Toronto Transit Commission (Use of Social Media Grievance), [2016] O.L.A.A. No. 267 decision deals with the use of social media in the workplace, and to what extent employers are required to manage their accounts in a way that protects their employees.

The employer created a Twitter account for the purpose of communicating with customers regarding service inquiries and concerns.  Although most ‘tweets’ were legitimate requests for information, the Arbitrator accepted that a minority were vulgar, offensive, abusive, racist, homophobic, sexist, and/or threatening.  The union took issue with the employer’s handling of these ‘tweets’, … Continue Reading

Not all Messages Constitute #Justcause

In a time where social media is everywhere and a business’s reputation means everything, employers continue to try and understand how certain posts on social media can justify an employee’s termination in the appropriate circumstances.

In  MacKinnon v Helpline Inc., the Court ruled that an employee’s private, non-confidential, off-duty communications via Facebook and MSN e-mail to a third party reporter did not constitute just cause for that employee’s dismissal.

The reporter had approached the employee and informed her of problems a member of the board of the employer had encountered prior to working for the employer. The … Continue Reading

Monitoring an Employee’s use of the internet

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has held that an employee’s right to respect for private life and correspondence is not breached where an employer monitors the employee’s personal communications at work, subject to reasonableness and proportionality. Whilst this has caused a large amount of media interest in the UK, employers should be aware that this case does not entitle employers to monitor all employee’s emails and social media sites.

In the case from the Romanian courts, an employee was using a business Yahoo messenger account (which he had set up at his employer’s request) to send and receive … Continue Reading

Termination for Facebook post upheld by arbitrator – Despite absence of social media policy

The recent decision of United Steelworkers of America, Local 9548 v Tenaris Algoma Tubes Inc, 2014 CanLII 26445 (ON LA) provides an example of how a unionized employee’s off-duty social media behavior can justify dismissal, despite the absence of any reference to social media in the company’s harassment policies.

The grievor was a crane operator who took issue with a female co-worker’s job performance as a stocker. Following his shift, the grievor posted comments on his Facebook page about the stocker referencing one of her distinctive physical features. A third co-worker commented on the post and suggested performing a … Continue Reading

Social media creates a new terrain for employment related misconduct

This article was written by Amelia Berman, an associate at Norton Rose Fulbright South Africa

It is very common in this day and age for employers to have regard to prospective employees’ Facebook pages and Twitter accounts before employing them or for employers to inspect these social media platforms to verify the veracity of sick leave days taken by employees.  In addition, more and more employees are facing disciplinary action for excessive time spent on social media sites during working hours or for controversial opinions expressed on such sites.

Investigations conducted by employers into prospective employees’ lives by means of … Continue Reading

Employees’ rights and obligations relating to the use of social media in Germany

In Germany 80% of all internet users are registered in social networks and 70% of all internet users actively make use of social networks. This development is also increasingly having an impact on the world of employment.

Social media and recruitment

In general, German data protection legislation allows the employer to collect and use an applicant’s/employee’s personal data to the extent necessary to decide whether or not to hire the applicant and in order to carry out or terminate the employment. Personal data must generally be collected directly from the applicant/employee. However, personal data may be collected from other sources … Continue Reading

Employees’ rights and obligations relating to the use of social media in France

The impact of the use of social media in the workplace has regularly given rise to controversies and debates as how this subject is to be handled by a company’s management. The current state of employment law is still not entirely settled in this respect. It is however possible to provide some guidance on the most common issues arising from such use with regard to employment law (data protection regulations will not be considered in this article).

Access and control of social media in the workplace

As a general rule, employees are allowed to access the internet for non-professional … Continue Reading

Employees’ rights and obligations regarding the use of social media in Australia

The use of social media in Australia continues to grow on a daily basis. There are now over 13.4 million daily users of Facebook, 3.9 million active users of LinkedIn and over 2.7 million monthly users of Twitter (Source: Social Media Statistics Australia). There is a good chance that one, if not all of your employees under 30, are using social media on a daily basis.

So how does an employer regulate the use of social media by employees?

A social media policy is important in providing employees with guidance as to how they are to use social media … Continue Reading

Picketing in the age of Google

This article was written by Douglas de Jager, a candidate attorney at Norton Rose Fulbright South Africa

The right of striking workers to picket is an important tool in the collective bargaining process.  A picket traditionally involves the gathering of striking workers in a public place to demonstrate against their employer or to create awareness about the dispute and to gain the attention of the general public.

While picketing during a protected strike can sometimes be difficult to manage, a prudent employer quickly establishes picketing rules either by agreement or on application to the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and … Continue Reading

Dismissal for Facebook post upheld by Arbitrator

In Canada Post Corp. and C.U.P.W. (730-07-01912) (2012), the grievor, a postal clerk with 31 years of service, was discharged after management became aware of her inappropriate postings on her Facebook account. The postings were made over a one-month period and contained a number of derogatory, mocking statements about her workplace and supervisors. The employer argued that the postings were grossly insubordinate, had the potential to damage the reputation of the employer, and had greatly harmed the supervisors. The employee was terminated and the discharge was grieved.

In the grievance, the union accepted that the postings were regrettable but argued … Continue Reading

Monitoring social media pays off

WhatsApp messages in which an employee expresses his opinion about a superior in an offensive manner can be sufficient reason for the employee’s instant dismissal. For employers, therefore, monitoring social media use by their employees pays off, and the importance of a good social media policy is ever increasing.

In a recent case, a colleague pointed the superior to insulting WhatsApp messages sent by the employee. The employer decided to dismiss the employee instantly.

After his dismissal, the employee had to hand in his company laptop. On inspection, it appeared that the employee also sent some offensive Skype messages in … Continue Reading

Does your social media policy pass muster with the NLRB?

Venting around the water cooler has been a way of life in most companies, but with the advent of social media, those gripes have moved online where the audience size is so much greater.  In fact, I dare say that if some of your employees had work place issues yesterday, they have probably already written or blogged about it.  This is why when Facebook, Twitter and other sites gained popularity, many employers enacted social media policies to control what employees could say about the company or their fellow employees.

But what if you have never had to enforce your policy?  … Continue Reading

Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, YouTube and personal email accounts….how far can an employer go when it comes to using their contents as evidence against an employee?

With the proliferation of social media, employers are more and more tempted to resort to their employees’ personal accounts so as to obtain valuable evidence whenever a dispute arises. For example, whether it be to provide proof of an employee’s state of mind, of activities that are incompatible with an employment injury or of fraudulent acts, Quebec tribunals have lately been called upon to decide how far an employer can go when it comes to retrieving and using the contents of an employee’s social media or email account as court evidence.

Two (2) main issues arise in this context: (1) … Continue Reading

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