The grievor was a crane operator who took issue with a female
co-worker's job performance as a stocker. Following his shift,
the grievor posted comments on his Facebook page about the stocker
referencing one of her distinctive physical features. A third
co-worker commented on the post and suggested performing a sexual
act with that physical feature. The grievor responded and suggested
subjecting the stocker to further violent and humiliating sex acts.
The stocker became aware of these comments and notified the
company. The company relied on its Code of Conduct and Harassment
and Violence policies in terminating the grievor. The union grieved
In upholding the grievor's termination, Arbitrator Trachuck
considered the vicious and humiliating nature of the grievor's
Facebook comments referencing the stocker. Arbitrator Trachuck also
noted that the grievor must have known the stocker would see or
hear about the posts since the grievor had co-workers as
"friends" on Facebook, the grievor had no privacy
settings on his Facebook account, and the grievor left the comments
visible on his Facebook page for 10 hours. Arbitrator Trachuck
noted that the company's harassment policies did not address
Facebook or other social media but did not consider this to be a
factor mitigating the grievor's actions.
This case illustrates how workplace harassment can occur even in
an employee's off-duty conduct through social media. While
workplace policies should be updated to reflect the prevalence of
social media harassment, the absence of such references does not
prohibit an employer from imposing discipline for social media
harassment where appropriate – particularly in the most
egregious cases where harassment policies clearly apply.
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