Originally posted by KilgoreTrout
I have never ventured onto facebook and have no intention of ever doing so, but the problem that arose where I work was that people were posting
things about colleagues, innocent enough...until it wasn't and then a complaint was made to a manager about what had been said. Even though an
employer (unless contractually stipulated) is not allowed to dictate what an employee can or cannot say or do in their own time, the employer is still
liable in the event of bullying, harassment or discrimination being conducted or even reported on facebook between employees outside of working
hours because it is still related to their employment. Same as if you were to make nuisance phone calls to a colleague's home, it is still classed
as your employer's responsibility to investigate it. Since 'not knowing' is not considered a good defence, it is likely that more employers will
either prohibit use of facebook or more likely, monitor it as and when suspicion arises.
Also though, more government and public sector employers in the UK are now asking questions to screen for ideology, often at second interview stage,
so perhaps facebook would allow them a fast track on that too.
edit on 21-2-2011 by KilgoreTrout because: possessive apostrophing
Well get this. I worked for one of the largest internet companies out there. For 7 1/2 years.
There was a party one night at the home of one of my co-workers. I also participated in helping with the party and putting it together, as this
co-worker is a friend of mine of 20+ years and it was his birthday. Which included me paying for food, alcohol/beverages and "entertainment". Take
a note of this... the ratio of said "internet comany" employees to "regular" folks at this party, was about 90% employees, to 10% regular
The "entertainment" I lined up, was a female stripper. Which was the "comical" event of the evening, because the birthday boy is gay.
That party took place on a Friday night. Monday morning, someone at work (another employee who was NOT present at the party), overheard 2 other
employees (who were at the party) talking about it and how much fun they had. The employee who was NOT at the party, took it upon themself to be
"offended" over the events they HEARD about, that took place at the party. Then marched their "offended" self right over to Human Resources to
file a COMPLAINT.
NOTE - every single person who attended this party was OFF THE CLOCK and on their own PERSONAL TIME! Additionally, every single person at the party
was over the age of 21.
After a few days of "investigation" from HR, pulling party attendees into "private meetings"... myself included... the weeks events in the office
concluded like this:
2 Managers were suspended for 2 weeks, without pay, for their "actions" at the party. Those actions, were based on their "activity" with the
"stripper". Straight men, tipping the stripper.
Myself and the birthday boy were both given 3 page write-ups for our "behavior" and "conducting" or "hosting" the party.
About a dozen or so other employees were also given write-ups for their "behavior" at the party.
When my boss came to get me to take me to the "write-up" meeting, he knew I would blow a gasket and he begged me to shut up and not say a word, just
listen to them and sign the write-up. He made it clear to me from the beginning that he was completely against what the company was doing, and as
hard as he fought, he couldn't sway them at all. Because of my respect for him, I complied and did as he requested.
The following work day, the company sent out emails with a new "policy". Stating that if there were going to be any "personal parties/events"
taking place, if there were "80% employee attendance", it was now considered to be a "company event". Behavior at the "party/event" would be
expected to be that of what is required, while at work.
As soon as I saw that email, I blew my gasket. I proceeded to fill out an expense report, listing all of the food, beverage and entertainment that I
paid for, out of my own pocket, for the "personal birthday party" that got us all in trouble. I then submitted it to my boss who needed to sign off
on it. To my surprise, he signed it and turned it in.
Next day, both my boss and I were written up for that and I was told that if I continued with my "attitude", I would be terminated immediately.
Fast forward about a year or so. All of us in management had to go through a 2 day class on "sensitivty training". Bottom line, "harassment"
training. During the 2nd day of that class, during a Q&A with the LAWYERS that were conducing the class, one of the managers who had been suspended
spoke up and stated a "hypothetical" situation, outlining the above story, and point blank asked (in front of Human Resources and all the TOP powers
at this training), if that was legal.
Without hesitation, the 3 lawyers teaching this training, started shaking heads and stating that would be such an illegal situation, the company would
and should be sued, and no court of law would state that any company would ever have the right to tell employees what they can or cannot do on their
own personal time. On the clock, yes. Off the clock, HELL NO!
As soon as that training class ended, there was a line a mile long at the doors of Human Resources. Each of demanding our employee files. Each of us
tearing up those warnings. And each of us demanding written letters of apologies. Which, thankfully we got.
Unfortunately, too many companies, government or not, believe they can control what we do 24/7. This company is one of the largest inernet companies
in the world. One you have all visited, or at the very least, heard of. So sadly, this happens, even here in the good old U.S.A.