Patricia Pearl - Small Claims Procedure - A Practical Guide


An excellent guide for the layperson in how to use the County Court - a must if you are intending to start a claim.

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  1. #1
    Basic Account Holder mjones2006 Novitiate

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    Default Disciplinary for facebook

    Hi,

    My partner wrote something in conversation with a friend on facebook referring to the company as "d***s", but in no way mentioned the company name or a specific individual it was regarding the hours staff were receiving sometimes 25 hours a week then to be 8 hours the following week.

    Now the office called her in regarding the comment, they said this is not a disciplinary we would just like to know what you have to say about it. So they had a chat and she thought that was that. Only to be told today that she needs to attend for disciplinary due to comments she made.

    My question is are they allowed to do this, in no way does the message mention the company name. Im not even sure you would know who she was on about if you didn't know who she worked for.

    It a sad time if you cannot even write something your annoyed with without getting into trouble, and it was not purposely set out to call them names it was in general conversation.

    Any help would be appreciated
    Mark


  2. #2
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    Default Re: Disciplinary for facebook

    if its not mentioned the company or person by name then they have no case

    if she has then she has no defense


  3. #3
    Basic Account Holder Sk1ppy Novitiate

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    Default Re: Disciplinary for facebook

    Can you go on Facebook and close/lock/delete the account. I did this with LinkedIn when I had an incident re someone phoning a place I used to work at.

    Cheers

    My Doctor says that I don't suffer from Paranoia

    But I know what he's really thinking !!!
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    Basic Account Holder Sk1ppy Novitiate

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    Default Re: Disciplinary for facebook

    Can you go on Facebook and close/lock/delete the account. I did this with LinkedIn when I had an incident re someone phoning a place I used to work at.

    Cheers


    EDIT mmmmm double post

    My Doctor says that I don't suffer from Paranoia

    But I know what he's really thinking !!!
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  5. #5
    Basic Account Holder RachelMD Informative RachelMD Informative RachelMD Informative RachelMD's Avatar

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    Default Re: Disciplinary for facebook

    Quote Originally Posted by postggj View Post
    if its not mentioned the company or person by name then they have no case

    if she has then she has no defense
    Is it that clear cut?
    If, by the context that she spoke, it's clear who she was refering to I would have thought the ER could successfully argue 'bringing into disrepute'.
    After all, if you know someone, or are their friend on facebook, you tend to know where they work.

    Are there lots of people at work called Richard? That might be a defence.

    The company having a policy on this type of situation in their D&G procedure will be significant here.


  6. #6
    Basic Account Holder mjones2006 Novitiate

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    Default Re: Disciplinary for facebook

    I do not think it was that clear to people. The majority of the conversation wasn't even about work and the line they are giving the disciplinary against reads something like: "Yeah i know they are di*ks aint they..ive only got 13 this week"


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    Default Re: Disciplinary for facebook

    Quote Originally Posted by RachelMD View Post
    Is it that clear cut?
    If, by the context that she spoke, it's clear who she was refering to I would have thought the ER could successfully argue 'bringing into disrepute'.
    After all, if you know someone, or are their friend on facebook, you tend to know where they work.

    Are there lots of people at work called Richard? That might be a defence.

    The company having a policy on this type of situation in their D&G procedure will be significant here.
    Spot on!

    Clearly the employer feels that they have a case, and the fact that the employer has got wind of what was written is testament to the fact that they can be identified by implication. Referring to one's employer as a 'd*ck' in any context or however tenuously is never a good idea and there are 1001 sad tales of people caught out by apparently innocent comments made via social networks, and employees should be SO careful about anything which they write about an employer in that manner.

    It matters not that comments are only made visible to 'friends' (one of which has presumably seen fit to report the comment?) - the comment is made to a public forum, and if the employer can be identified even by implication, then they would have a more than adequate case to warrant disciplinary action. Certainly a policy on the use of social networks will clarify things, but call it bringing the employer into disrepute, or call it a breach of mutual trust, any employer would be entitled to feel aggrieved, and the 'they haven't got a case' option needs to be treated with care. Gross Misconduct can be for an act which any reasonable person should know to be wrong, so it need not necessarily be written down as a specific clause to become quite serious.

    However, I don't believe that from what was written here it is sufficiently serious to warrant more than a warning, and a carefully crafted argument, mixed with suitable humility and an understanding that this shouldn't have been written, may even lessen the impact further.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/arti...oring-job.html

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    Basic Account Holder geoff1248 Novitiate

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    Default Re: Disciplinary for facebook

    Just as a matter of interesticon it appears that the OP is referring to an individual(s) as a "d**k" rather than the company. So how can that be deemed as bringing the company into disrepute? The fact that the company may employ the "d**k" is neither here nor there.


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    Default Re: Disciplinary for facebook

    My partner wrote something in conversation with a friend on facebook referring to the company as "d***s"
    I read this in the OP as stated, as in 'a bunch of' rather than being an individual.

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    Basic Account Holder bonnygirl Novitiate

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    Default Re: Disciplinary for facebook

    The discussion could have been about a completely different company not the company that she works for.....employers are so over sensitive todays. They want to know what their staffs do when out of their control. Staff work for a company and during their working hrs the company is in control of them, but when staff leave their place of work the employer surely cannot tell them what to do or say in conversations to friend and family over the internet , unless it is the Gestapo is the employer.


  11. #11
    Basic Account Holder ms_smith Novitiate

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    Default Re: Disciplinary for facebook

    Quote Originally Posted by mjones2006 View Post
    Hi,

    My partner wrote something in conversation with a friend on facebook referring to the company as "d***s", but in no way mentioned the company name or a specific individual it was regarding the hours staff were receiving sometimes 25 hours a week then to be 8 hours the following week.

    Now the office called her in regarding the comment, they said this is not a disciplinary we would just like to know what you have to say about it. So they had a chat and she thought that was that. Only to be told today that she needs to attend for disciplinary due to comments she made.

    My question is are they allowed to do this, in no way does the message mention the company name. Im not even sure you would know who she was on about if you didn't know who she worked for.

    It a sad time if you cannot even write something your annoyed with without getting into trouble, and it was not purposely set out to call them names it was in general conversation.

    Any help would be appreciated
    Mark

    In this particular case, you don't have to mention the company name in capital letters to be held liable for any offensive context - some people may still know who you are working for. And if you work on casual hours basis (I assume that's the case here) - it was your choice, you knew what you were signing up for.

    The first meeting was just an investigation hearing. But on the face of it the company may decide whether to proceed to a discplinary level or not. Apparently, the explanations given by your partner were not that much convincing.
    If she can reliably prove she works for some other company and she meant them - then yes, she can get out of it clean handed. Otherwise, I am afraid she will have to face the consequences.

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  12. #12
    Basic Account Holder geoff1248 Novitiate

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    Default Re: Disciplinary for facebook

    If you check a dictionary you will see that the term "d**ks" has a number of different meanings. Certainly there are a couple of rather vulgar meanings but there is also
    dick 2 (dk) Slang n.1. Chiefly British A fellow; a guy.

    So if your OH works in a very male dominated environment then she could have just been referring to the fact that the place was full of men. Which I am sure that she was........
    That should give them something to think about at the hearing.


  13. #13
    Basic Account Holder stuart_coogh Novitiate

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    Default Re: Disciplinary for facebook

    what you write on facebook book, as long as it does not list the company name is your own business, companies try to stop people like yourself from speaking out the truth, if your not happy with anything at work or you see something that is wrong and the company is allowing it to happen, you can whistleblow and you are protected for whisltleblowing under direct gov rules http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/Employme...ce/DG_10026552


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    Default Re: Disciplinary for facebook

    Quote Originally Posted by stuart_coogh View Post
    what you write on facebook book, as long as it does not list the company name is your own business, companies try to stop people like yourself from speaking out the truth, if your not happy with anything at work or you see something that is wrong and the company is allowing it to happen, you can whistleblow and you are protected for whisltleblowing under direct gov rules http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/Employme...ce/DG_10026552
    Partially true, for if the company can demonstrate that it can be clearly ascertained who the company is, then they may have a quite legitimate cause of action.

    Whistleblowing would apply to matters in the public interesticon or concerns over illegal or unsafe practices - not just that you are a bit peeved with them or think the employer is a d*ck!

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  15. #15
    Basic Account Holder stuart_coogh Novitiate

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    Default Re: Disciplinary for facebook

    companies these days scare employees into not writing on facebook or twitter they are having problems at work or the work environment is not right, as employees you have every right to vent your frustrations out on facebook or twitter, you can even name the company, but make sure you dont use bad language, stick with the facts and if any company tried to sack an employee then that company would be liable


  16. #16
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    Default Re: Disciplinary for facebook

    Quote Originally Posted by stuart_coogh View Post
    companies these days scare employees into not writing on facebook or twitter they are having problems at work or the work environment is not right, as employees you have every right to vent your frustrations out on facebook or twitter, you can even name the company, but make sure you dont use bad language, stick with the facts and if any company tried to sack an employee then that company would be liable
    Problem is with social media generally that word can get around like wildfire and it only takes a word out of place or something taken out of context and it can quickly become a matter of bringing the company into disrepute. At the very least, an employee expressing dissatisfaction with the job/company/boss can easily find themselves on a very sticky wicket and facing all sorts of problems over potential breaches of trust.

    For that (very good) reason any company should have robust policies in place regarding what can and cannot be mentioned on social networks. Far better to nip things in the bud and 'scare' employees if needs be. It is dangerous to suggest that 'you have every right to vent your frustrations out on facebook or twitter' as that is hugely misleading. A company can legitimately have a policy which disallows mentioning the organisation concerned in a negative light. As an employer, one has the right to expect that the individuals working for that organisation will at all times consider themselves ambassadors for the business, and that workplace grievances are dealt with via official channels, and not aired in a public forum - one reason why we will normally remove company names or identifiable facts posted here.

    Keeping to the facts will only protect you to a certain degree, for even where there is no specific policy dictating the use of social networks to air grievances, there is still the barrier of a 'mutual trust and confidence' to overcome, and no Tribunal likes to interfere with how a company runs it's business providing that it stays within the law. Consequently, whilst a dismissalicon may well be excessive depending on exactly what is said, a warning may well be warranted, so far better to keep workplace discussions within the workplace and not all over the internet. Personally I wouldn't want to put this to the test too much!

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  17. #17
    Basic Account Holder ms_smith Novitiate

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    Default Re: Disciplinary for facebook

    Quote Originally Posted by stuart_coogh View Post
    companies these days scare employees into not writing on facebook or twitter they are having problems at work or the work environment is not right, as employees you have every right to vent your frustrations out on facebook or twitter, you can even name the company, but make sure you dont use bad language, stick with the facts and if any company tried to sack an employee then that company would be liable
    LOL, I remember I commented on my facebook profile (closed to the public) also about a former manager, for her being a proper and real piece of s*it and nasty b*tch... ET proceedings were under way but it was really difficult not to comment, based on the shocking facts really... I got a few responses from a former colleague, we had a laugh about her on my wall and both agreed on her being a zero, in other words. Someone from the former workplace notified her about it though and there was a time that that ZERO theatened to sue me for defamation, lol. For me having in hand all the evidence to prove my words, she can do nothing. Maybe can do just a poo, out of fear, hahaha (civil court proceedings are under way as well...)
    What I am getting at is that employees should find a balance between 2 issues: what they have agreed to when signing up a contract and how to sort any genuine problems at work in the most optimal way, without a risk to attract unwelcome sanctions from the employers.
    (In my case, during ET proceedings, I got a blah-blah-letter from their reps yet I refrained from other comments but, indeed, it can give you an idea of what can happen if you channel your frustration on social networking site, even if it is closed to the public).

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  18. #18
    Basic Account Holder stuart_coogh Novitiate

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    Default Re: Disciplinary for facebook

    you can name the company you work for and state any problems, because you are protected under the whilstblower act, companies just want to scare employees from telling the truth about what problems are at work, they can't censor you at all, by all means use facebook and twitter to talk about problems at work or if the company is doing something wrong use facebook and tell everyone

    http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/Employme...ce/DG_10026552

    http://www.whistleblower.co.uk/FAQ.aspx


  19. #19
    Basic Account Holder stuart_coogh Novitiate

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    Default Re: Disciplinary for facebook

    forgot to mention you can sell your whilstblow stories to the the press, see the whilstlblow web site


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    Default Re: Disciplinary for facebook

    Stuart - that is the second time that you have posted this link incorrectly and it represents incredibly bad advice!

    Protection from a detriment due to whistleblowing is only valid in specific cases where the employer is breaching Health & Safety or is breaking the law - it has to be a Protected Disclosure. It also has to be made to a prescribed person or to the employer directly - your own link to the DirectGov website makes that clear, but nowhere does it mention that Facebook or Twitter are prescribed bodies, so an employee following your advice to use these to raise even legitimate concerns, let alone gossip or problems with the way that the company does business, would not be protected, but will almost certainly fall foul of contractual responsibilities over bringing the company into disrepute or breaching the mutual trust and confidence of the employment relationship.

    If you want to pass on your clearly held views on the use of social media to spread gossip without fear of sanction, then feel free, but please do not attempt to pass these on as law or acceptable practice - they aren't and you are badly misleading people to state otherwise.

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