Clarkslegal LLP - Solicitors in Reading and London

Legal Updates

A private conversation in a public house

27 April 2011 #Employment

Facebook, YouTube, Twitter etc.  They are the public meeting places of the 21st century.  Such virtual communities are spaces where a whole generation has come together to express themselves and form networks like never before.  However, as the case of Preece v JD Wetherspoons plc (2011) highlights, what seems to a space for purely personal expression can easily become part of the public sphere, when social discourse is conducted in the open arena of cyberspace.
In this case, the dismissal of a pub manager for gross misconduct, following inappropriate comments she made on Facebook about some customers who had verbally abused her, was upheld by the employment tribunal.  The conversation on Facebook had taken place whilst Ms Preece was at work and was in breach of the company`s e-mail and internet policy.  Ms Preece`s privacy settings meant that a wide audience was able to view her Facebook page, including the customers in question, risking the reputation of her employer.
This case highlights the importance of having in place a policy regarding the use of social media by staff.  
Clarkslegal, specialist Employment lawyers in London, Reading and throughout the Thames Valley.
For further information about this or any other Employment matter please contact Clarkslegal's employment team by email at by telephone 020 7539 8000 (London office), 0118 958 5321 (Reading office) or by completing the form on this page.
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