Can we punish an employee for his comments on social networks

Can we punish an employee for his comments on social networks?

Nowadays, more and more employees are taking their anger out on social networks to express their dissatisfaction with their employer, even if it means posting “inappropriate” comments. But can they really be punished for these slip-ups ?

Social networks and professional sphere :

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. are platforms that allow users to create profiles to communicate and share information.

However, for some time now, the limits of use of these social networks have been pushed back more and more. Some use it to make defamations, others to humiliate acquaintances, etc. causing scandals, even endless dramas.

The war between employer and employee is now part of it.

Indeed, more and more employees are using these platforms to post “inappropriate and hateful comments” about their employer without knowing that their thoughtless act can have serious consequences on their professional life.

They can range from a simple warning to a dismissal depending on the seriousness of the problem, as in the LOL league case. Some employers even take legal action against their employees.

Current laws:

Who hasn’t dreamed of venting his anger against his superior at some point in time? ? The people concerned are surely numerous. And many have probably already done so. But it is important to know that these criticisms, if they are expressed on a wall of social networks or in a group, with public character, the French legislation allows the victim to sue the user of the profile.

But the law also protects users by imposing certain limits on their account settings.

Indeed, according to the decision of September 12, 2018 of the Court of Cassation: “Are not constitutive of a serious misconduct, the insulting remarks disseminated by an employee on a Facebook social network account accessible only to people approved by him and composing a closed group of 14 people, such remarks falling under a conversation of a private nature”.

Thus, the comments made by the employee towards his employer on social networks are only punishable if more than 14 people have seen the publication.

Consequently, if they go beyond this private circle, the comments (insulting, defamatory, aggressive or excessive) will be considered as an abuse of the freedom of expression justifying a dismissal for serious misconduct. Simply because it can cause harm to the company even if they do not directly target the latter.

Attention ! This regulation applies only to publications posted on the social network Facebook. When it is a publication on Twitter or Instagram and others, it’s a different story. Here, “public” and “private” postings also determine the sanction.

From the moment they are accessible to any public, they can be grounds for serious misconduct if they harm the interests of the employer and his company.