It has come to our attention that an employee has made derogatory comments about their manager on social media. The individual’s Facebook page is set to private; however, a colleague who is a friend on Facebook viewed the comment and informed management and would like to be kept anonymous. How can HR approach this situation?

Posted in : First Tuesday Q&A NI on 3 January 2017
Chris Fullerton
Arthur Cox NI
Issues covered:

Recent case law has demonstrated that employers can find it difficult to deal with alleged misconduct involving an employee's use of social media sites such as Facebook. The first difficulty for employers is how this specific type of misconduct is characterised, for example, whether the misconduct consists of damaging the employer's reputation, or breaching a duty of confidentiality or a dignity at work policy. Secondly, the employee may argue that the conduct takes place outside work and has no bearing on the employment relationship, possibly asserting that their right to privacy has been infringed.

There are two key cases in GB which are worth considering in this context. In Preece v JD

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Back to Q&A's This article is correct at 03/01/2017

The information in this article is provided as part of Legal-Island's Employment Law Hub. We regret we are not able to respond to requests for specific legal or HR queries and recommend that professional advice is obtained before relying on information supplied anywhere within this article.

Chris Fullerton
Arthur Cox NI

The main content of this article was provided by Chris Fullerton. Contact telephone number is 028 9023 0007 or email

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