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Racist Facebook remarks by Ericsson employee reveals the importance of having a social media policy

by , 10 April 2014
Another employee has lost a job due to derogatory remarks on social media. This time, Ericsson South Africa fired Vivienne Catherine Basson after she made a racist statement on her Facebook account. This reveals the importance of having a social media policy so you'll be equipped to handle what employees say on social media. Read on to discover how this will help you...

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Racist Facebook costs Ericsson employee her job

Sowetan Live reports that after being involved in an accident with a taxi, Basson (who was a sub-contractor for Ericsson) posted the following on Facebook: 'Effing 'K' taxi. And once again I vote for the death penalty. These savages don't deserve to live. But more importantly Daniel is alive and I am alive. They can rot in hell.'

Basson soon found herself out of a job after the comment went viral on Twitter and Facebook.

According to the report, Ericsson South Africa M.D Magnus Mchunguzi told SABC news that Basson had 'breached their business ethics'.

It's possible that Ericsson South Africa has a good social media policy in place. And that's why it was able to deal with the matter efficiently.

Why not safeguard your company with a social media policy as well? Here's how…

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Know the difference between insubordination, gross insubordination and insolence

There's a fine line between insubordination, gross insubordination and insolence of an employee. Do you know the difference? How would you discipline an employee in each instance? If you get it wrong you could lose at the CCMA!

We'll show you the difference between these and what you can do to discipline your employee in each case.


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To deal with derogatory remarks made by employees on social media, make have a social media policy in place

Taryn Strugnell, the Managing-Editor of the Labour Law for Managers Loose Leaf Service says you need to have a social media policy so you can set out guidelines for the use of social media platforms.

She says 'all employees have a duty to act in the best interests of their employer. [And] Employers have the right to take disciplinary action against an employee if s/he has made derogatory or unacceptable comments on Facebook about the employer.'

That said; you're within your rights to take disciplinary action against your employee even if she hasn't mentioned your company's name in a rant on social media. This is what Ericsson South Africa has done.

The allegation you could put to your employee in the Notice to Attend the Disciplinary Enquiry could be that the employee put your company into disrepute by posting unsavory comments. And that this is something your company is against.

The bottom line: You need a social media policy to deal with what your employees say on social media. Having this policy in place also makes it clear to your employees that what they post on social media can came back to haunt them.



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