A manager employed by British Airways is reported to be facing disciplinary action following certain remarks which he is alleged to have made on Facebook about Andy Murray’s mother, Judy. The manager is reported to have compared her to a ‘recently salted slug’ among other things. The posts were made when he was off duty watching the Wimbledon tennis final in which Andy Murray triumphed.
This serves as a timely reminder for employers and employees that the area of social networking is a minefield in employment law. Employers should have in place robust social media policies to make clear to their staff what is (and what is not) acceptable in terms of social media postings. Similarly, employees should be cautious in what they post on Facebook and bear in mind that it is not a private forum.
Individuals do have a right to freedom of expression under Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights. However, that does not give employees immunity from being disciplined for inappropriate social media postings, particularly where there is a risk of the employer’s reputation being damaged.Jack Boyle Solicitor – Employment Law