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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: UK Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 48199
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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My daughter has been suspended from Sainsburys this evening

Resolved Question:

My daughter has been suspended from Sainsbury's this evening and she has received a letter saying "Dear XXXXX I am writing to confirm following the incident of alleged gross misconduct on 05 march 2012 namely a complaint made of inappropiate use of a social networking site you have been suspended on full pay until further notice
We will contact you to arrange a meeting to discuss this further
During your suspension we would ask you not to enter the store etc".
This was a private facebook page and only open to her chosen friends. Is this
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: UK Employment Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 5 years ago.
How long has she been employed with them?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Year and a half
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
sorry can't access HR policy at this time not can
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 5 years ago.
Hello and thank you for your question, which I will be happy to assist you with. My colleague asked me to look at this as its my area of law. Please let me know what is her account of the gross misconduct?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Jessica is sitting beside me and i will try to report what she said:
She was told the meeting was regarding comments ishe had made on facebook they never refrerred to Gross misconduct in the meeting just in the letter, they obviousely had a copy of what Jessica said in her status which was something like, Jessica was venting her frustration at her previous boyfriends behaviour as he was coming into her work and wathcing her. At this time he was not one of her "facebook friends" so he should not have been able to see the post but she posted it to her other freinds as a form of talking out loud the words she used were " Dont come into my work and make me feel uncomfortable go to f**king tesco's" Jessicas previous boyfriend was not supposed to see this as he was not a freind in facebook does that assist?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
the letter states this happened on 5th March yet this is the 5th April one month later and she has been allowed to work so it seems rahter odd to have such a time delay.
I have just reitred from th epolice so RIPA Act is mulling around Right to private life etc etc. If it was on an open facebook page we could maybe see the stores point but it ws a private page to "friends" and it appears someone has printed this out and "shafted her"
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 5 years ago.
Thanks for this information. I'm just travelling at the moment but I will pick this up soon if thats OK?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
yes sure call me on XXXXXXXXXXX when you want to talk
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 5 years ago.
We are not allowed to do that but I will come back soon. Thanks.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
ok what ever way suit's you
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 5 years ago.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
i keep getting email saying you have made a response but cant see the response
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 5 years ago.
Apologies for the slight delay, I experienced some temporary connection issues earlier. Being placed on suspension is not necessarily an indication of guilt and there is no guarantee that this will go any further. Under employment law, an employer has a duty to conduct an investigation before taking formal disciplinary action and the suspension is primarily used as a precautionary measure by an employer whilst they carry out their duties. The only requirement is that any period of suspension is on full pay, unless otherwise allowed by the employee’s contract of employment.

Saying that, an employer should not just go ahead and suspend, unless it is actually necessary in the circumstances. It is acceptable to be suspended if there is an allegation of gross misconduct or if the presence of the employee in the workplace could potentially damage any investigation or have some other negative impact.

If the employer’s investigation shows enough evidence to justify formal disciplinary action only then should they consider going down the formal disciplinary route. If that does happen the employee will get the right to be informed in advance of the allegations against them and also get the opportunity to formally defend them.

On the other hand, if the investigation does not find enough evidence to justify a disciplinary, the employer should just drop this issue and allow the employee to return to work as normal.

Please press Accept for the advice given so far. If necessary, I can then provide further advice and guidance as required and answer any specific questions you may have. Thank you
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I am aware of all the infomration you have given thus far I already know this stuff.
I see there is no infomration re the facebook issue which is why I contacted you thats the issue.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 5 years ago.
There is currently little case law on issues regarding dismissals as a result of comments made on social networking sites, such as Facebook, although it will undoubtedly become more and more common with time.

Whether or not an employer can take disciplinary action or dismiss an employee as a result of their activity on a social networking website is a tricky issue. A balance must be struck between an employee's right to private life, which is a basic principle under human rights regulations, and the employer's right to protect its business and reputation as well as its employees.

Employers should only take formal action against employees' use of social networking websites where there are valid concerns about this having a detrimental effect on the business, including any adverse effect on other employees. Legitimate reasons would include serious breach of commercial confidentiality, or where the comments would clearly cause damage to the business's reputation. Finally, employers should only take action that falls within the band of reasonable responses in the circumstances.

So if the settings were private or if there was no way of identifying the company from the comments, formal disciplinary action or dismissal is likely to be unfair.

If the comments concerned another member of staff and that person saw them or a colleague took offence, disciplinary action can be justified although the punishment would need to be determined in line with established employment law principles. These would include examining the nature of the comments and how serious they were (e.g. racist, sexist or other seriously offensive comments could justify dismissal), the employee’s disciplinary record and length of service (the longer one has worked there and if their disciplinary record is clean, the more an employer should think about issuing a warning rather than dismissing).
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
its a better answer, but agin I have provided the infomration for you. maybe you should employ me
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
this is a tricky question about face boob so thats why i came to you .
There must be some case law on it and I would like it please so a little more reading before we close
Speak tomorrow
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 5 years ago.
you have asked a question, I have provided an answer. No case law on facebook yet, you still need to look at the general employment law principles that go back a number of decades as they would still apply
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Satisfied Customers: 48199
Experience: Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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