It is quite normal to see people share information, state their opinions, post photos or videos on social media that have some kind of relation with the company where they work. This kind of information that workers previously disclosed within a more or less private circle of relatives and friends has nowadays become important within the public sphere and can hence have an impact on your company’s interests.
What can the company do?
Your employees being active on social media can be positive for the company (for example, it can have positive repercussions in the media and help strengthen your brand) but what happens when the company does not like the information that is disclosed? Can the worker be dismissed in these cases? What are the rulings of the Labour Courts?
The casuistic is varied and, within this scope, we can find (i) from workers uploading videos on TIK TOK recorded in their work centre during their working hours that express the inefficient support provided by the company to the public (video “two thousand years later, I was given support”) and advice is even given about how to act fraudulently (video “how to steal kinder eggs”), in a case included in the judgment of the Labour Court of Cartagena number 3 of 27 July 2021; (ii) to a worker posting photos on INSTAGRAM in which he/she is shown undressed, specifying the photos are for the company’s calendar, a case included in the judgment of the High Court of Justice of Andalucía (Granada) of 19 May 2022; both judgements ruled that the disciplinary dismissals were fair and seemed to deem, among other facts, that damage had indeed been caused to the corporate image.
However, the judgement of the High Court of Justice of Cantabria of 7 January 2019, in a case when a worker posted photos on INSTAGRAM in which he appeared in his workplace dressed up in children’s clothes that were for sale (publication “this is what happens when you work on a Sunday”), deemed that such conduct had not caused damage to the company regarding the public and that it lacked sufficient importance or seriousness to justify dismissal, thus ruling the dismissal was unfair.
Companies that wish to avoid or prepare for the possible consequences of “uncontrolled” disclosure of content that their workers post on social media and the resulting damages caused to their corporate image or brand, can ask us and obtain advice on drawing up protocols, guides and instructions for the use of social media, hence avoiding damages being caused to the company and negative consequences for its workers.