A website previously unbeknown to this female media lawyer at
least – TheLADbible – came to my attention when one of
its stories gained national tabloid currency in the tabloids this
weekend. The simple tale features an employee telling his boss he
couldn't make it to the office: 'I won't be in today I
think I've count (sic) kevs 24 hour bug'. The 24 hour bug,
however, may in fact have been a bout of 24 hour boozing. And this
was brought to the boss's attention when he spied a pic of a
rather delicate looking staff member propped against a smiling
fellow reveller. Problem for our boy is that while she included the
snap of her with the culprit in his cups in her Snapchat stories,
she was also friends with his boss.
This is by no means the first high profile similar incident;
people have been shooting themselves in the foot with faux pas on
social media since it first sidled into our lives. This one may
have made the headlines given the employee's manager added a
touch of colour to the tale, in his own purple passage response:
'Caught right out on snap chat. Lying c***'.
Social media sites have now been with us for a decade or more.
But we still fail to remember that what we post online about
ourselves, or what others may post about us, can be a permanent,
potentially public publication. None of us would extol the dubious
virtue of lying to one's boss, but an employee can make it
twice as hard for himself by being so easily caught out; duplicity
and stupidity are not exactly the qualities that one is looking for
in an employee...
Equally however, while an employee can end with egg on his face,
or a P45 in his hand, a boss may not come out smelling of roses if
he responds not in a cool professional manner, but in an
unprofessional, hot-headed or unfair manner. A manager needs to
consider his own reputation, and that of his or her business, in
the manner of any potentially public response in order not to
diminish the respect that clients, contacts and colleagues may have
in an otherwise respectable business operation. Indeed, managers
who shoot from the hip on social media might also face disciplinary
action from their employer for intemperate language or
Here it seems, the manager preferred the approach of letting the
punishment fit the crime; our sickie-puller was not sacked, but
instead was given a week of less than attractive jobs at work, best
presumably to focus his mind. Other employers may of course decide
not to be so lenient.
Employers should have in place sensible, workable social media
policies governing the manner in which employees can use social
media, and the manner in which they may review and police it, and
these policies should be made clear to staff from their initial
induction training onwards. Similarly however, staff need to grow
up and reflect the respect that is shown to them by their bosses
who (for the most part!) are human beings themselves; who
understand that a staff member may unexpectedly let their hair down
from time to time; and as a result could be unfit for work.
Being honest with a boss is likely to be the best policy; lying
to the boss will be a foolish mistake; not being aware of the risks
of social media and lying and getting caught out, is bound to be
bad for anyone's employment health.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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