Do you use Facebook at work? You risk your job (for real)
By Stefano Trifirò
Cases of dismissal for having published photos or comments on Facebook, or because cameras took pictures that were then used to undertake a disciplinary procedure against a worker are increasingly on the agenda. The law firm Trifirò & Partners, specialized in labour law, has been involved in two particular cases in which the use of various forms of technology in the workplace impacted on the recruitment, development and termination of the employment relationship.
“We worked on a case in which an employee, who was allegedly absent due to illness, was in fact actually carrying out other work. The practice was discovered by the company, as the worker regularly published, at least once a day, on her public social personal profiles (Facebook and Instagram) announcements advertising events organized in public places, also leaving her contact details” states Stefano Trifirò, partner.
Similarly, to add to this context “another employee, also absent because of illness, published on his public profile Instagram photos of himself from which emerged evidence that at that time he was in a different location from the one where the domicile of availability was found and that which he communicated to the company“, continues Trifirò. “In both cases, after an inspection by the employer of the worker’s online activity emerged evidence of excessive use of social media for personal use, which had nothing to do with the performance of the employee’s duties“. It is therefore legitimate, according to labour law, to dismiss those who spend too many hours posting or carrying out activity on social media.
On February 1, the Supreme Court confirmed the dismissal for just cause for a Brescia secretary who used Facebook during working hours: 6 thousand hours of internet access, of which 4,500 were spent on Facebook in 18 months. “In this case, the Court of Cassation found that there was no violation of privacy, since the control was limited to protecting the company assets and avoiding illegal behavior by employees. Furthermore, there was no privacy violation, as it is data that is automatically recorded by all computers. This activity, then, does not violate the rights of workers because it does not control the productivity and efficiency of their work, but concerns conduct not related to individual performance“.