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The only way to prevent a case of employee dismissal over social media use...

by , 17 May 2013
'You're fired!' Hearing the words is bad enough, but imagine finding out you've been fired through the media? Former Hawks spokesman McIntosh Polela says that's exactly what happened, as neither he nor his lawyer received a letter saying he'd been dismissed from the SAPS after he tweeted some colourful comments about Jub Jub's court case. Here's how to prevent a dismissal in the first place over your employees' social media use...

Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa revealed Former Hawks spokesman McIntosh Polela 's dismissal in a written response to a question from the Democratic Alliance in Parliament this week, stating he was dismissed on 27 March 2013.
Polela now says this is news to him as the first he heard of his official dismissal was through media reports on the topic.
Polela was dismissed following a Twitter comment he posted on Twitter last year relating to the conviction of Molemo 'Jub Jub' Maarohanye and his co-accused Themba Tshabalala for murder and attempted murder, says IOLNews.
You can avoid this confusion when dismissing employees by making sure your dismissals are fair by making sure they know how you'll deal with this type of offence in the first place.
Employees making colourful comments on Facebook? Here's what to do…
For example, when dealing with a social media-related offence like Polela's, you'll need to make sure your company has a disciplinary code detailing the likely penalties for each offence, especially as social media use goes on the rise. 
If you ensure all employees are aware of the code, you'll be more likely to prevent cases that lead to dismissal in the first place, as 'You can't discipline and dismiss your employee if he can honestly say he didn't know his action was a punishable offence and can prove it's been done before without sanction,' warns the Practical Guide to Human Resources Management.
A good way to do so is to institute a workplace communication or social media policy to stop employees from bringing your company into disrepute in their private time, irrespective of how they do it, says FSPBusiness
Here's what to tell your employees about social media use to prevent a case of dismissal against them in the first place!
Remind them that the Internet is a public domain and you can use anything negative an employee posts on social networking sites about your company against him. 
Also remind them that the nature of the job they do could put your employees in contact with sensitive information and that there are certain topics they shouldn't joke about in the social media space.
Then, make sure this is clear in your employment contract so that once an employee signs the contract, you can hold them liable for social media abuse.
That's all it takes.

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