In two recent cases employees have been dismissed after posting abusive comments on Facebook but in both cases the employer got the process wrong resulting in payouts and costs.

Recently a person was fired from their job for writing abusive comments about a co-worker on Facebook.  The Employer thought this was good reason to investigate and as a result of the investigation decided to fire the employee.  However, the Employment Relations Authority saw the situation differently and said the Employer did not follow the proper dismissal procedure.

The ERA found that the dismissal was unjustified because the Employer did not disclose to the Employee all the information obtained in the investigation.  The ERA then ordered that the Employer pay the Employee $4,000.00 in compensation.

In another recent case a Postie was fired after posting abusive comments about his workplace.  The man’s employer fired him for bringing the company into disrepute.  Sadly for them they did not follow exactly the proper procedure for dismissal and in the end settled out of Court with the man who was claiming $7,000.00 for loss of dignity and injury to his feelings.  If they had followed the proper process they would have saved themselves the trouble and expense.

The Postie will not be going back to work for the employer but the high costs they incurred to make it happen could have been avoided.

There is a simple lesson that can be learned from these situations.  Remember to always follow the proper process when dismissing an employee, no matter how justified the reasons for dismissal.  If these employers had followed the proper process in the first place they would not have had the personal grievances brought against them and would not have had to pay many thousands to resolve them.

You can download our Employer’s Guide to the Disciplinary Process from our Downloads section or call Alan Knowsley.