A Northern Ireland case which looked at the ever-growing number
of issues caused by social networking.
Mr Teggert posted offensive sexual comments about a female
colleague on Facebook. These provoked online comments from Mr
Teggert's Facebook friends, some of whom also worked at
Teletech. This was reported to Teletech and, after a disciplinary
hearing, Mr Teggert was dismissed for gross misconduct. The reasons
were that the Facebook post amounted to sexual harassment and
brought Teletech (named in the post) into disrepute.
Mr Teggert unsuccessfully appealed the decision and brought a
claim for unfair dismissal and for violation of his human rights.
He lost. Some of the key points of the tribunal's decision
Mr Teggert's actions satisfied the definition of
harassment can occur where comments are directed to
the employer's decision to find Mr Teggert guilty of
bringing the company into disrepute was seriously flawed, but he
would have been dismissed on the harassment charge in any event,
and that dismissal would have been reasonable;
articles 8 (right to respect for private and family life), 9
(freedom of thought, conscience or religion) and 10 (freedom of
expression) did not help Mr Teggert. He had abandoned his right to
make private comments when he posted them on Facebook. Belief
didn't extend to belief about another person's promiscuity.
Freedom of expression had to be exercised responsibly.
This decision isn't binding on UK employment tribunals, but
it's a useful indication of the way courts are thinking.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.
Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.
Failure to follow the Acas Code of Practice on Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures will usually increase the risk of a dismissal being found to be procedurally unfair and can result in increased compensation being payable to a dismissed employee.
BIS has published an updated indicative timetable of the planned key dates for the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013 and the introduction of financial penalties for employers who breach workers rights will now not be in October 2013.
Some comments from our readers… “The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable” “I often find critical information not available elsewhere” “As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”