Can your social media profile kill your job prospects?

Toby Young has resigned from the board of a new university regulator after more than a week of criticism over controversial comments he made on social media.
He is a journalist, his views are well known, but the comments he made on Twitter - even though they were deleted - were enough to sink his chances of staying in the job.

If a middle-aged public figure like Mr Young can be unseated by his online presence, how worried should the rest of us be?

Most employers will look at a person's online presence before even selection for interview - let alone the final appointment decision...

See Can your social media profile kill your job prospects? (Rebecca Mason, BBC News).

Evading electronic trackers

An Australian electrician managed to bunk off work about 140 times to play golf, covering his tracks using a crisp packet to shield an electronic tracker.
Tom Colella, 60, took his former employers to an employment tribunal, claiming unfair dismissal, after being sacked for skipping work.
However, the Fair Work Commission sided with Colella’s bosses after hearing how he hid a work-issued tracking device in a crisp packet when he headed off to the local links during work hours...
For more information read Electrician skipped work 140 times with crisp packet trick (Rebecca Gillie, The Week).

Facebook and collaboration at work

It’s been a year since social media giant Facebook launched its first foray into workplace communication. Ajai Seghal shares how the Chemistry Group uses Workplace and the impact he believes the collaboration tool and platforms like it will have on our working lives.

As countless articles assert, communications are changing at an unprecedented pace. From the wonder of the mobile phone, to receiving emails on the move, to numerous social media platforms, time and space appear to have crumbled since communications technology came along.

For more details see Workplace by Facebook: How collaboration platforms are changing the way we work (Ajai Seghal, Personnel Today).

Sacked by app

Staff are treated as ‘throwaway workers with throwaway rights’ as technology allows new methods of exploitation, a union leader warned.

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said mistreatment of staff has been transformed by the economy and technology, comparing people on zero hours contracts waiting by the phone for work to how dockers once waited by the quayside for jobs.

She said casual workers can be ‘sacked’ via apps, their livelihoods at the mercy of bosses they never meet or speak to...

For more details see ‘Sacked by app’… TUC raps zero hours exploitation (Daniel Binns, The Metro).

Uber misbehaviour

Uber drivers team up in gangs to force higher prices before they pick up passengers, research has revealed.

Researchers at the University of Warwick found Uber drivers in London and New York have been tricking the app into thinking there is a shortage of cars in order to raise surge prices...

See Uber drivers gang up to cause surge pricing, research says (Cara McGoogan, The Telegraph) for more details.

Working on the frontline at Facebook

Testimony from those working to keep beheadings, bestiality and child sexual abuse images off Facebook indicates that the support provided isn’t enough...

See Underpaid and overburdened: the life of a Facebook moderator (Solon, The Guardian).

Sharing confidential client information over WhatsApp

An investment bank employee has been investigated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) after sharing confidential client information over WhatsApp. While a reasonable level of employee social media use at work may be acceptable, it is still important to have clear social media policies. Jessica Clough from Boyes Turner explains why...

For more information see WhatsApp and confidential data: where to draw the line with social media (Clough and Turner, 2017).

Fired for historical tweets

An employment tribunal held that a long-serving employee was fairly dismissed for making derogatory comments about his colleagues and his employer on Twitter up to three years previously...
See Social media misconduct: fair dismissal over historic tweets (Steven Simpson, Personnel Today) for more details.

Google ban on employees writing stories

The company is accused of breaching labour laws with its internal policy banning workers from writing about workplace concerns.
Google is being sued over its internal confidentiality policies which bar employees from putting in writing concerns over “illegal” activity, posting opinions about the company, and even writing novels “about someone working at a tech company in Silicon Valley” without first giving their employer sign-off on the final draft...
See Google sued over policies 'barring employees from writing novels' (Alex Hern, The Guardian) for more details.

Strikes and Twitter

A plea from rail company Southern for beleaguered passengers to tell the RMT union how they feel about ongoing strikes appears to have backfired.

Southern tweeted: "Time to get back on track. Tweet @RMTunion & tell them how rail strikes make you feel."

Dozens of passengers immediately responded, but not in the manner rail bosses might have hoped.

Marianne Powell tweeted: "You brought this on yourselves. We, your customers are suffering."

Another passenger, Simon Cox, posted: "I dislike unions but I dislike incompetent management more."

For more information see Southern rail's 'tweet RMT' plea angers rail passengers (BBC News).

Social media and employee voice

This report examines the extent to which employers are making use of social media to promote and access employee voice.
Social media describes online platforms that allow for user-generated content, interaction and collaboration.
It is a relatively new phenomenon, linked to the emergence of ‘web 2.0’ and the move from a static to an interactive internet.
This report is largely focused on enterprise social networks.
These have the common features of other social media platforms, but they are closed and exclusive, with membership restricted to an individual organisation...
For more information see Going digital? Harnessing social media for employee voice (Joe Dromey, ACAS).

A new right to "disconnect" from emails at work?

Should governments step in to regulate work emails and so rescue harassed staff from the perils of digital burnout?
The answer in France appears to be "Yes".
President Francois Hollande's Socialist Party is about to vote through a measure that will give employees for the first time a "right to disconnect"...
See The plan to ban work emails out of hours (Hugh Schofield, BBC News) for more details.

EU court ruling on Internet use at work

Employers can read workers' private messages sent via chat software and webmail accounts during working hours, judges have ruled.

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) said a firm that read a worker's Yahoo Messenger chats sent while he was at work was within its rights.

Judges said he had breached the company's rules and that his employer had a right to check on his activities.

Such policies must also protect workers against unfettered snooping, they said...

See Private messages at work can be read by European employers (Kevin Rawlinson, BBC News) for more details.

The addictive powers of smart phone at work

The worst case of “work addiction” I have encountered was described to me by an ex-management consultant. A member of his team – let’s call him Gary – was forced by his employer to take a holiday. The firm saw yet another potential burnout victim on its hands, in what has become a costly epidemic in today’s economy. So Gary bid farewell and set off for sunny Crete for two weeks with his girlfriend...
See Why you shouldn’t let your smartphone be the boss of you (Peter Fleming, The Guardian) for more details.

Restriction of social media during a strike

Striking unions could face restrictions on their use of social media, the TUC's general secretary has told the BBC.

A consultation document linked to the proposed Trade Union Bill suggests unions involved in industrial action should give two weeks notice if they plan to campaign via social media.

Frances O'Grady said an attack on trade unions was "unfinished business" for "some elements within governments".

Ministers said any restrictions would not apply to posts by individuals...

See Trade Union Bill: TUC fears over social media restrictions (BBC News) for more details.

Screensaver bullying

The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has overturned a tribunal decision that an employee was unfairly dismissed after placing an image of a witch as a screensaver on the computer of a colleague who “unfriended” her on Facebook...
For more details see Airport worker dismissed over treatment of colleague who “unfriended” her on Facebook (see Stephen Simpson, Personnel Today).

Case law and social media employee misconduct

An employment tribunal was wrong to conclude that a Scottish Canals employee was unfairly dismissed after he posted Facebook comments boasting of getting drunk while on emergency standby and describing his managers as “wankers” and “pricks”. Stephen Simpson rounds up tribunal decisions reported in the previous week...

Private investigators and strikes

British Airways paid £1m to hush up the details of a spying operation in which the phones and emails of its own cabin staff were allegedly improperly accessed during a bitter dispute with Britain’s largest union...

Workplace trends and social media

ACAS has recently produced a document on contemporary workplace trends.
Included in this document is a consideration of social media as an emergent form of employee voice.
For more information click here.

Creating official narratives of war

The British army is creating a special force of Facebook warriors, skilled in psychological operations and use of social media to engage in unconventional warfare in the information age...

Against a background of 24-hour news, smartphones and social media, such as Facebook and Twitter, the force will attempt to control the narrative...

See British army creates team of Facebook warriors by Ewen MacAskill (The Guardian).

References and LinkedIn

LinkedIn is facing a class action lawsuit in California over its premium “reference search” function that allows employers to identify and approach applicants’ former colleagues.
Resourcing professionals who pay for premium LinkedIn account status are able to find people in their network who have worked at an organisation at the same time as a job applicant. Without informing them, the recruiter can then contact those individuals to ask about the candidates’ previous employment.
Four LinkedIn members, Tracee Sweet, Lisa Jaramillo, James Ralston and Tiffany Thomas, have filed a lawsuit claiming that the system violates the Fair Credit Reporting Act, a 1970 law enacted amid concern of potential misuse of consumer credit history...
For more details see Candidates sue LinkedIn over lost job opportunities (Robert Moss, Personnel Today).

Instagram for doctors

An app which enables healthcare professionals to share photos is to be rolled out across western Europe by the end of the year.

The app was designed to enable doctors to share pictures of their patients, both with each other and with medical students.

So far, more than 150,000 doctors have uploaded case photos with the patient's identity obscured...

For more information see 'Instagram for doctors' to be launched in Europe by Zoe Kleinman (BBC News).

Job hunting and Web 2.0

"It's not what you know but who you know," is an old saying about job-hunting.

In the world of social networks we "know" more people than ever and we can be connected to the people they know as well, making it easier to find work and hear about people using our personal networks...

See Why 50 is the magic number for job-hunting by Peter Bowes (BBC News) for more details.

Health employer uses YouTube for recruitment

A Scottish health board has uploaded a short film to video sharing website YouTube in a bid to recruit new staff.

The video promoting vacancies in NHS Highland's cancer treatment services is the first in a series the board plans to produce to attract new employees.

In the six-minute film, workers seek to dismiss misconceptions about the Highlands...

See NHS Highland uses YouTube in bid to new recruit staff (BBC News) for more details.

Employee rights and LinkedIn

Millions of us use professional network LinkedIn as a sales, marketing and database tool, either through personal profiles or LinkedIn groups.

Some of us have a few contacts, while others have hundreds – but the ownership of these on the site has been the subject of legal debate in the UK and abroad...

For more details see LinkedIn contacts: who owns what? (Philip Landau, The Guardian).

Employee fired for posting payslip online

A Brooklyn dad claims he was fired from his job as a salesman at Lacoste for posting a photo of his paycheck on Instagram...

For more details see Former Lacoste employee: I was fired for posting my paycheck on Instagram (Carole Kuruvilla, NY Daily News).

Police officer quits over Twitter comments about Thatcher

A police officer who reportedly wrote on Twitter that he hoped Baroness Thatcher's death was "painful and degrading" has resigned.
Sgt Jeremy Scott of the Metropolitan Police is understood to have published a number of offensive messages since the former prime minister's death.
Sgt Scott is said to have claimed her death was "87 years too late" and added that the world was a "better place"...
For more details see Thatcher 'death Tweet' policeman Jeremy Scott quits (BBC News).

TUC blog

It would appear that some one at the TUC or who has close links with the TUC has set up a blog to criticise the TUC.

The blog is called What's wrong at the TUC.

Employees take over official corporate Twitter feed

HMV Twitter feed

According to an article in the Guardian yesterday, disgruntled HMV employees briefly took over the company's official Twitter account on Thursday to express their extreme dissatisfaction at being sacked by the ailing retailer.
More details:
On Thursday afternoon one or more angry employees took to the microblogging site to vent their anger and "tweet live from HR". They managed to post seven subversive messages [see image above] before the company regained control of the account and deleted the posts.

Sexist Brazilian police officer fired for Twittering

According to the BBC News website, a Brazilian police inspector has lost his job after using Twitter to criticise women who worked for him.
Some more details:
Pedro Paulo Pinho tweeted that out of the 14 women staff of a Rio de Janeiro police station "only one had the talent, courage and determination needed for police work".

Barrister IT misbehaviour

Just seen article in the The Times that is about barristers Googling for information about jurors in order to win sympathy for the people they represent.

Quite unethical in my opinion, but until something substantial can be done to prevent it such practice is not going to go away.

For more details see: Threat to the courts system as barristers google jurors then alter speeches to win sympathy (Frances Gibb), although these days you have to subscribe to The Times to get full access to the full article.

IT misbehaviour

I saw a great IT misbehaviour story on the BBC News website today.

Some details:

A security check on a US company has reportedly revealed one of its staff was outsourcing his work to China.

The software developer, in his 40s, is thought to have spent his workdays surfing the web, watching cat videos on YouTube and browsing Reddit and eBay.

He reportedly paid just a fifth of his six-figure salary to a company based in Shenyang to do his job.

For more details see US employee 'outsourced job to China'.

Facebook misbehaviour at DVLA

Looks like employees at DVLA have been up to mischief again!

See DVLA: Seven staff suspended for posting "inappropriate" Facebook comments for more details (BBC News).

Blogging and anonymity

Many work blogs are renowned for being written in an anonymous fashion.

An article and radio programme by an anonymous blogger has recently appeared on the BBC News website.

See Belle de Jour's history of anonymity.

The radio programme, as told by the Brooke Magnanti (Bell de Jour blog), can be found here.

Police blogger wins award

There was an article in The Guardian today about an award winning police blog.

The blog is called Mental Health Cop.

The award is by Mind (mental health charity).

For more details of the story see Beyond the call of duty (Mary O'Hara).

Neurodiversity in the workplace

This post is on a topic that deviates somewhat from what this blog is typically based on.

Myself and colleagues at Heriot-Watt University have just finished a research project on neurodiversity and the workplace, with the focus on people who work in the transport and travel industry.

Neurodiversity, for the purpose of this research, relates to conditions such as dyslexia, dyspraxia, dyscalculia, ADD/ADHD and Asperger syndrome.

The research was commissioned by the TSSA trade union.

The report looks at three things in particular:

1) Knowledge of neurodiverse conditions.

2) Attitudes towards the term "neurodiversity".

3) Perceived level of support and perceived level of support for employees with a neurodiverse condition.

If you would like to view the report click here.

Managing corporate image through Twitter and Wikipedia

It's been a while since I last posted on here.
An article in The Guardian grabbed me today: MP demands apology after abusive tweets are traced to Wonga employee (Mike Deri Smith and Mark King).
Some details:
The MP and anti-payday loans campaigner Stella Creasy has demanded an apology from the online lender Wonga after a Guardian investigation uncovered evidence that an employee of the firm has been using an anonymous Twitter account to publicly attack her, calling her mentally unstable.
Wonga's slogan and adverts promise "straight talking money", but company computers appear to have been used to post anonymous comments on blogs critical of its practices and there is evidence that a second Wonga employee has deleted criticism from its Wikipedia page...

Fired for blogging about new job

Just heard of a story from the USA where someone who had just got a new job had the offer rescinded after posting details of the offer on his blog.

For more details see: Would you sack someone for blogging about your job offer? (HR Zone).

You may need to register with HR Zone to access this article.

Oil tanker dispute video

This is a story big in the news today.

Here the employee side of the dispute through this video produced by the UNITE trade union.