Social media bloggers beware…In the Brave New World unacceptable communication via social media is a workplace issue. The warning comes as the Fair Work Commission awarded a female worker a $7500 compensation payout after she was unfairly dismissed by her employer, following a rather toxic exchange of posts on Facebook between employees.

The story goes that one worker accused another of intimidation in the work place, using Facebook to conduct the argument. An employee filed a complaint against friends of another work mate, and that colleague responded to the complaint by uploading a post about the incident on Facebook. That post led to an offensive response (a word starting with F) on Facebook. The upshot of the vulgar outburst was that its author was sent a document called Workplace Politics – again via Facebook. In stepped the employer and dismissed the person who despatched the document.

Peter Vitale is an industrial relations lawyer and he says…

“Even though the employer doesn’t have control over what happens on social media, such as Facebook, they do have a responsibility to point out those communications can be taken into account. It’s now becoming that unacceptable communications via social media are a workplace issue much in the same way courts and tribunals consider physical locations outside the workplace to be part of the workplace.” He says the decision here is yet another example of why businesses need to be concerned about what their employees are writing on social networks, especially when it comes to making derogatory statements and bullying.