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Employees Beware of What You Post on Facebook!

June 2018 - Employment. Legal Developments by Mamo TCV Advocates.

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The Italian highest court decides termination of employment was lawful after employee posts disparaging remarks about her employer.

An employee of an Italian business posted a derogatory comment on Facebook about her employer, using her mobile phone, which read something along the lines of "I've had enough of this sh**** place", complaining about the ever-changing tasks being assigned to her. The owner of the business read the post and, after seeking legal advice, decided to terminate her employment. The woman quickly deleted the post and unfriended the owner of the business from her Facebook friends, after contesting her termination.

Both the Tribunal and the Court of Appeal found in favour of the employer in that the dismissal was lawful. The Court of Appeal commented that social media platforms were public spaces where content which is potentially defamatory has a huge reach. The Court found that there had been a substantial breach of the fiduciary bond which must exist between employer and employee. The employee challenged these findings for one final time before the Highest Court (the Italian Supreme Court of Cassation). The Court confirmed the previous decisions and held that the spreading of a defamatory message through Facebook had the potential to reach an indeterminate number of people and again, found a breach of the fiduciary link which must exist in employment.

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