Working from home bullying part 2 - social media

The Rolling Stones told us that Time is on my side, yes it is”  and with people working from home they may be right. 

People with more time on their hands combined with the social isolation that comes from working from home or being in lockdown can find themselves becoming frustrated which in turn can lead to people saying and doing things on social media that they might regret later.

Being courteous on social media is not a restriction of any form of freedom of speech, however before you post of Facebook, Instagram or Twitter etc ask yourself the following questions;

  1. Would I like someone to say this about me?
  2. Just because I can post this does it mean that I should?
  3. What would people I respect think about this post?
  4. Do I want to subject myself to complaints, investigations and of possibility disciplinary action?

There have been a number of cases in recent year in regard to the connection between social media and the workplace and workplace bullying but I think that we are now moving into a very grey area with so many people working from home.  I think that there may be interesting times ahead in the Fair Work Commission with some potential unfair dismissal cases and Stop Bullying Orders where the issues have arisen from social media posts.

Many of the previous cases have revolved around the definition of at work – for example;
Bowker & Ors v DP World Melbourne Limited T/A DP World; MUA and Others
Robinson v Lorna Jane Pty Ltd [2017] QDC 266 (3 November 2017), Lorna Jane Pty Ltd

Here is what the Fair Work Commission says about “at work”

It is also important to remember that social media posts can be considered as defamation or potentially breaches of policy when it comes to making comments about your employer, co-workers or clients of your employer.

Working from home social media bullying – What can employers do?

  • Look after the mental health of your employees bullying and unresolved complaints can lead to further stress and anxiety
  • Make sure your Social Media and behavioural polices are up to date, available and understood
  • Remind your staff to play nice on social media
  • Have a trusted reporting mechanism in place in the case of complaints  – not sure what to do contact AWPTI, we can help contact us
  • Have a professional and timely investigation process for complaints – AWPTI can help contact us at enquiries@awpti.com.au

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