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The first Twitter case to face the scrutiny of the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has held that dismissal for offensive, non-work related comments on a personal Twitter account is potentially fair. This was the case of Games Retail Limited v Laws UKEAT/0188/14.
It found that the Tribunal, which had held that dismissal was unfair, had failed to take account of the public nature of Twitter. Although the employee’s account did not specifically link him to his employer, the EAT referred to the fact that his account was followed by 65 of the Respondent’s stores and that a local store manager had complained.
The EAT remitted the case to a fresh Tribunal to decide whether the decision to dismiss was within the “range of reasonable responses”. Based on the EAT guidance and perhaps stating the obvious, relevant matters in that regard are:
*The content of any social media policy.
*The nature of the alleged misuse.
*Whether the employee had received any previous warnings for similar misconduct.
*Whether there was any actual or potential damage to customer (or staff) relationships
ATCU report on concerns, observations and warnings - ‘Warning! Social networking sites can be harmful to your job’