Social Media Can Make You Lose Your Job
2021-02-18 | by CusiGO
A week ago, producer Lucasfilm announced that actress Gina Carano would share her deal with US Republican politicians and Nazi German Jews on instagram. The company called the comments “hateful and unacceptable” and added that they denigrated people’s cultural and religious identities. She called the decision totalitarian and claimed to be a victim of “political persecution.”.
In addition to the dispute over the claim, the case has sparked a debate about the extent to which employees are likely to be punished for opinions expressed on social media. Jos é Luis PE? N, partner of Abdon pedrajas littler, said that although dismissal is free in the United States and there is no need to mention specific reasons, Spanish law requires that in order for dismissal to be effective, there must be a reasonable reason “necessarily related to the field of work.”.
In other words, without a link to professional obligations, the worker cannot be punished for what he says on the Internet, “no matter how serious the charges are,” he said. He agreed with Alvaro San mart í n, a lawyer at casadelli, adding that it was a license and part of the employee’s right to privacy. “Once an employee leaves the office, everything he does belongs to his private field and has nothing to do with the employer,” he stressed.
However, Saint Martin points out that this is not an absolute right. Therefore, opinions may be punished if two main conditions are met. First, they can damage the image or reputation of the organization; second, they may link authors to the company, for example, if employees are identified as members of the company in their personal data. In this case, dismissal is in line with Article 54 of the workers Ordinance, which allows deportation on the ground of breach of contract integrity.
In 2018, a court in Palma, Mallorca, approved the dismissal of a Primark employee who posted pictures on Facebook mocking the war in Syria. One of the photos shows a group of children lying on the ground, apparently killed by gas and chemical weapons, with the title of “model challenge in Syria”. In his profile, the man claimed to be a shop worker. The comments spread on Internet forums and called for a boycott. The court supported EESC’s view that the employee’s behavior “violates the loyalty and Loyalty Obligations implied in any employment relationship”.
What if opinions on social media are critical to the company? As Luis Enrique De La Villa, the labor partner of Hogan Lovells, explains, this situation is not only more common, but also more complex, because it faces two fundamental rights. On the one hand, it is the honor of the entity, on the other hand, it is the freedom of speech of the template. However, the law does not clearly define the boundary between the two legal entities, so in the event of conflict, it is up to the judge to determine which opinions are protected and which are not.
According to Vera, the balance of power is usually good for employees. “For many years, the court has protected criticism of the company under the protection of freedom of speech,” he stressed. This is evidenced by a recent decision of the Catalan High Court (TSJ), which removed the suspension of a basketball player who posted a message on instagram’s account accusing the club of performance problems in its medical services, Because they encouraged him to come back before he recovered from the injury, the judges refused that the player’s speech was hurtful or offensive, and the company defended him, saying his freedom of speech had been violated. The panel was forced to readmit him and determined a compensation of 25000 euros.
But not all criticism is good. The lawyer clarified that our law does not protect any speech that violates the dignity or honor of others. For example, if it’s insulting or insulting. In this regard, Catalonia’s TSJ failed because it approved the suspension of a female dormitory employee, accusing her colleagues of abusing the elderly and accusing the organization of covering it up. The court held that the statements “went beyond the limits of freedom of speech” because they were false charges of damaging the honor of women workers.
In order to avoid potential conflicts in this regard, delavera suggested that the company adopt internal social media policy “just like managing the use of mail or phone at the personal level”. He added that the document must explain to staff whether they can be identified as workers, what information (such as confidential information) they cannot share under any circumstances, and the possible impact of non-compliance.