Can Facebook Really Help Solve Employee Misconduct Problems?


Had enough of debating about social media checking and whether we should use it when making hiring or promotion decisions? In the HR and Recruitment online networks we do seem to spend a lot of time talking about judging others by what they say on social media platforms. Whether it’s hiring managers looking to check out candidates as part of the recruitment process, or job seekers researching companies (and individuals) who they may wish to work for, there is always a healthy debate about how we interpret what others say.

Well maybe Air New Zealand have found a whole new use for it in dealing with ER issues.

They fired one of their flight attendants after she took sick leave to look after her sister. She took them to the Employment Relations Authority for unfair dismissal and AirNZ asked to see her bank accounts and have access to her Facebook page for the days concerned. She resisted as the company didn’t have these when they sacked her, and she felt they were private, but the ERA agreed with the company that she should hand them over to support her claim saying they would provide ‘substantially helpful advice’. As yet we don’t know the outcome.

Employment lawyers and employment commentators in New Zealand have been having their say:

“At a time when we think we are behaving privately or at least within a restricted circle of friends, we are actually effectively on trial”

“And the courts see Facebook as a wonderful asset because all of a sudden not only do we have the potential for pictures and so forth but . . . we can see what time statements were made and pictures were taken”

“Because while this is best evidence . . . doesn’t it creep you out a bit? It feels intrusive and just, frankly, wrong”

“Not only can often a picture tell a thousand words, but in disputes about when things happened Facebook quite often has a time stamp”

Social media updates may land you in trouble with your employers but may also be able to either corroborate or disprove whether you’re guilty of misconduct.

Are they ever really private?

And if not then can they be interpreted and used as an integral part of employee relations?

If so who judges context, syntax, intent or meaning?

And can we really take them seriously?

Let me know what you think…

(Image : Hobbit Safety Video)