ROI SOCIAL MEDIA CASE REINFORCES THE IMPORTANCE OF PROCEDURESOctober 31, 2014
The Employment Appeals Tribunal decision in the Republic of Ireland in the case of Jane Loughran –v- Mullingar Electrical Wholesale Ltd in April 2014 highlights the risks for employers in not having proper policies and procedures in place.
In this case Ms Loughran, a marketing assistant, was dismissed by the Managing Director of the company after he had observed her on a social media site and concluded that her actions amounted to a waste of the company’s time constituting gross misconduct.
The Claimant gave evidence however that she was not given enough work, that she was constantly seeking more work, that she openly spent time on the internet as she did not have enough work to do but that the majority of her time spent on the internet was work related. She stated that she had never been given any warnings prior to her dismissal.
The Managing Director accepted that the company had no social media policy and that the Claimant had not been given a contract of employment nor had she been given a copy of the company’s disciplinary procedures and she did not receive any payslips.
The Tribunal concluded that the dismissal was unfair and awarded EUR 7,000. The Tribunal found that the dismissal lacked any procedural fairness in that no investigation or disciplinary procedure took place.
Although this is a decision from the EAT in Dublin, the principles would apply equally in this jurisdiction in that a failure to follow procedures will render a dismissal unfair.
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