Apple employee fired for Facebook comments

Employee has case for wrongful dismissal turned down
Kerry Butters

November 8, 2011

Social networkers would be wise to take care what they post on their profile, after recent reports showed that as many as 78% of employers research potential employees online before giving them a position.

Indeed, a recent ruling in the UK upheld a dismissal by Apple after one of its store employees posted derogatory comments about their products on his Facebook profile.

Whilst the post that the Apple employee wrote was ‘private’, so that it shouldn’t have been seen by his employers, a colleague, who happened to be on his friend’s list, printed off the comments and showed them to their boss.

This led to the worker being fired for gross misconduct and to the employee seeking damages for wrongful dismissal through the courts.

However, he was unsuccessful, mostly due to the fact that Apple has very clear social media policies in place that prohibited employees making critical comments about the brand on social media platforms.

The tribunal felt that Apple relies on its image to effectively market its brand, and although the comments were private, there was nothing to stop friends from passing on the criticisms.

This illustrates the need for social media users to ensure that their profiles are kept private, or the need for individuals to create a public profile that is tailored to suit their professional lives.

63% of employers will check out a potential worker’s Facebook or Twitter profile and many will also check blogs, photo sites and forums.

Surveys show that so far 8% of companies have fired someone for abusing social media, although reports don’t specify if this is in or out of work.

Online reputation has become increasingly important and although that drunken pic which a friend tagged you in may seem initially amusing, it won’t seem so much when you have been turned down for that dream job.

Likewise, employers who unearth less than flattering information about you would be more reluctant to bring you into the company fold.

Indeed, it seems that it’s not straightforward to be onto a winner with social media, as employers who can’t find any information on a prospective worker will become suspicious and at best consider them a Luddite.

To overcome this, it seems that professionals should take positive steps to ensure they enjoy a good online reputation.

This can be achieved by Google, in the first instance type in your name and see what results come up.

Social media profiles should be professional where they are needed to be and negative posts and comments should be removed.

Ask others to remove photos you wouldn’t want your boss seeing and if you are really keen, submit your favourite pages about yourself, such as a professional blog, to search engines and optimise them to ensure they come out above your personal online profiles.


Comments in chronological order (1 comment)

  1. funny says:

    Social media profiles should be professional where they are needed to be and negative posts and comments should be removed.

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