Carephone Warehouse Liable for Facebook Hijack by Employee’s
An employment tribunal found that Carphone Warehouse was vicariously liable for unwanted and inaccurate comments made in relation to the sexual orientation of an employee that had been posted on his Facebook page by colleagues that caused him embarrassment.
Whilst the Carphone Warehouse employee had been initially dismissed for gross misconduct in January 2011 for that sale of multiple pay as you go mobile phone handsets to the same customers, his counterclaim alleged that he had been harassed on the grounds of his sexual orientation by colleagues who had used his iPhone without permission and updated his Facebook status to read ‘finally came out of the closet. I am gay and proud”.
Findings of the Employment Tribunal
The tribunal found that the Facebook entry had been made on a public forum on the Internet and had been displayed to friends and family of the claimant.
They also recognised that there are prejudices against gay people currently in society and that the comments made by his Carphone Warehouse colleagues were intrusive into his personal life on the public forum.
The findings mean that employers will be liable for discrimination by their employees if those acts fall within the course of employment and during working hours.
Social Media Policy within Companies
The use of a social media policy should be introduced and all staff who breach that policy should face possible disciplinary action.
Employers can also request investigations to be carried out by a computer or mobile phone forensic expert at Athena Forensics on any electronic devices such as computers or mobile phones if they suspect that an employee may have been abusing an internet or social media policy.
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