How to React when your Employee Over Steps the Mark on Social Media

The old saying goes ‘if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it’ perhaps this should be adapted to modern life as ‘if you don’t have anything nice to tweet, don’t tweet it.’ The dangers of posting online without thinking are undisputed. This has been shown in this week’s news by Danny Baker’s tweet resulting in his instant dismissal from BBC 5Live after facing huge public backlash. Despite being a truly 21st century problem, employees misbehaving on their personal social media accounts has become a regular and difficult issue for employers to deal with.

While social media can be an incredibly useful tool for businesses, on the flipside, employers may be held vicariously liable for the actions of their employees. It is therefore crucial that you know how to react when an employee misuses social media.

The decision to dismiss rests on two crucial questions; what does your social media policy say and how serious is the misconduct?

Social Media Policy

All employers should without a doubt have a social media policy. The policy must be robust and carefully worded in order to make clear the standard expected of employees and the consequences if they fall below this. For more information on Social Media Policies visit our earlier blog here.

Severity of the Misconduct

After taking into account the employee’s role and seniority, the nature of their misconduct and the potential impact it may have on your company’s reputation, it may be reasonable to dismiss an employee or impose other disciplinary sanctions against them (after following a fair disciplinary process of course).

How you have previously disciplined employees who have misused social media may also affect how you can act in your current situation, though it is likely to be reasonable to conclude that racism online (if proven) amounts to gross misconduct.


However, if you need help conducting a fair disciplinary process, are having trouble deciding the severity of your employee’s social media post or suspect that your social media policy is not up to scratch, please contact our employment team on 0161 926 9969.