Employment Law: Sacked employee claims bank fired her for Facebook comment

Employment Law: Sacked employee claims bank fired her for Facebook comment

Stephanie Bon, 37, claims she was fired from the Colchester branch of Halifax, which is part of the Lloyds Banking Group, for posting a comment comparing her salary to that of the new chief executive, António Horta-Osório, on Facebook.

Bon was employed as a HR assistant at the branch and she received a £7-an-hour wage. After hearing about the £13.5 salary, bonus and benefit package that the new chief executive would be receiving, she posted: “LBG’s new CEO gets £4,000 an hour. I get £7. That’s fair’ on Facebook.

Bon claims her managers then told her she had put the company down with the comment and fired her.

However, a spokesperson from Lloyds TSB said: “Stephanie Bon’s departure had absolutely nothing to do with Facebook. Stephanie was employed via an agency on a short-term seven-day rolling contract.”

The spokesperson said the work had come to an end and the decision to end her employment was taken before the comment on Facebook had even come to light.

This incident highlights the difficult relationship between social media or networking sites, such as Facebook and Twitter, and employment. Employees would argue that these sites are for personal use and everything written is in a personal capacity. They want to believe that even if they post something negative about an employer, as it is out of work hours or unofficial, their employer cannot do anything.

However, many employers will have a strict social media policy that identifies disparaging comments as misconduct or gross misconduct which means they can take disciplinary action over it, or in some circumstances, dismiss the employee.

The key to avoiding confusion is to have a clear and accessible social media policy that outlines employees’ responsibilities in and out of the office, and clearly outlines the consequences. Examples of unacceptable posts should be given as a guide for employees.

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