The dangers of abusing the boss on social media

There is a substantial and inherent risk for an employee in using social media to vent on the employer.

“There are decisions where offensive or potentially offensive Facebook posts constitute a valid reason for termination of employment in the circumstances Eg. O’Keefe v. Willims Muirs Pty Ltd [2011] FWA 5311, and decisions where they do not   Eg. Linfox v. Stutsel [2012] FWAFB 7097. In this case the Facebook post was directed at the chairman of Qube, and was shared by a number of employees of Qube. Mr.Campbell gave evidence that it was not shared by any employees, and then in cross examination changed his evidence and agreed that it was. In my view the comments posted on Facebook warranted a warning, and I do not need to determine if it was a valid reason for termination of employment. I would however have come to that conclusion in the circumstances. It is a serious matter for an employee to publicly or semi-publicly call the chairman of the company a ‘pig’, which is a rude and derogatory term carrying with it some contempt and hostility. Mr.Campbell himself accepted that it was ‘unacceptable I called Corrigan a pig’ in his interview with the employer. The Qube social media policy requires employees to be polite and respectful in all communications and not to damage Qube’s reputation, and this post is inconsistent with that policy. It seems likely that Mr.Campbell was aware of that policy and other directions.”

Campbell v Qube Ports Pty Ltd T/A Qube Ports & Bulk (2017) FWEC 1211 delivered 16 March 2017 per Hamilton DP