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Social Media Misconduct

31st July 2013

Social media issues in the workplace usually fall into one of 5 categories:

  • Misuse of work equipment or work time
  • Leaking  or misusing confidential information
  • Evidence of misconduct, such as theft from or lying to the employer
  • Posts damaging to the employer’s reputation
  • Posts which bully or harass other employees.

The first three categories can be dealt with under your normal disciplinary procedure, with full investigation and in line with your employer’s policies and the ACAS Code on disciplinary and grievance procedures.

It can be more difficult to discipline employees for just making comments online, even when those comments are potentially damaging to an employer’s reputation or offensive to other employees. For our final e-zine about employees and social media, we’ve put together a flow chart to help you think through the issues in these types of cases.


Remember, any disciplinary sanction should be fair and reasonable in all the circumstances. Points to consider include:

  • The employer’s social media policy
  • The employee’s job and seniority 
  • How the alleged misconduct affects the employee’s job 
  • The type, size and culture of the employer
  • Any other relevant policies and procedures such as those relating to bullying and harassment or equal opportunities
  • The seriousness of any alleged misconduct
  • The risk of damage to the employer’s reputation
  • How similar cases have been treated
  • The employee’s record, length of service and intention behind the alleged misconduct, as well as their attitude during the investigation and disciplinary process.

We hope this series of e-zines has been helpful – if you have any questions about social media and employees please call us on 08700434284.

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