Facebook postings fair game for employers

June 16, 2013 0 COMMENTS

By Frederic Parisien

Can Canadian employers use information from their employees’ Facebook pages in managing the employment relationship? Not an age-old question, but one debated in recent years.

In many provinces, the answer was “yes.” But in other provinces, such as Quebec, some commentators took a more cautious approach. In a recent decision, the appeal division of Quebec’s Workers’ Compensation Board (the Commission des lésions professionnelles) said “yes,” Canadian employers may use information learned from their employees’ Facebook account if there is nothing to suggest that the account’s contents were accessed using fraudulent schemes, subterfuges, or other underhanded means. read more…

Facebook can be an unfriendly place

September 16, 2012 0 COMMENTS

by Sara Parchello

While the summer has come and gone, employees’ photos of their summer activities may not be. If employees post those photos on Facebook or similar sites, employers may be confronted with just what employees did with their time over the summer. And what if, on a day an employee called in sick, you see photos of that same employee enjoying herself at a cottage, sunbathing on a dock with a cocktail in her hand?

Worse yet, what if the site allowed you to see the actual time that the employee posted the picture, being right in the middle of regular working hours? A recent arbitration case out of Alberta, Canada Post v. Canadian Union of Postal Workers, confirms that Canadian employers can rely on such evidence of inappropriate behavior. read more…

Tech Employee Fired for Egregious Computer Use: Termination Justified

January 17, 2011 0 COMMENTS

By Maria Giagilitsis

Along with the extraordinary benefits accompanying today’s rapidly advancing technology comes an increasing vulnerability for Canadian employers who strive to hire the “best of the best” information technology groups.

On the one hand, “wizard like” computer skills are an invaluable asset — they can lead a company’s growth while sharpening its competitive edge. On the other hand, these advanced skills also can be a source of weakness as management struggles to predict the numerous and complex ways in which a technology employee might abuse his or her position and even cause harm to the business.

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Employees Fired for Facebook Postings

November 15, 2010 1 COMMENTS

By Maria Giagilitsis

It’s becoming more and more clear that an employee’s use of social networking websites such as Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace may lead to justifiable discipline by an employer. On October 22, 2010, the British Columbia Labour Relations Board released its decision in West Coast Mazda (d.b.a. West Coast Detail & Accessory Centre) and UFCW Local 1518, in which it dismissed the union’s unfair labor practice complaint and agreed that the employer’s decision to terminate two employees for their Facebook postings during certification was appropriate.

Facebook postings
The facts and timeline in this case are critical: The union applied for certification on August 26; the employer received notice of this application on August 27; and the union was certified one week later on September 8, 2010. There were three key individuals involved in this case: one employee who was a key inside organizer with four years’ service; a second employee who was also a union supporter with two years’ service; and a third employee, the manager, with over four years’ service. All three individuals were “friends” on Facebook.

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When Employee Privacy and Social Media Collide

December 07, 2009 0 COMMENTS

By Lyne Duhaime

An IBM employee from Quebec made headlines last month when her disability benefits were cut off by the insurance company after it saw pictures of her on Facebook. Despite being off work for depression, the employee had posted photos of herself on vacation at the beach and at a Chippendale’s show. When IBM’s disability carrier saw the photos on Facebook, it cut off her disability benefits. In its view, the employee no longer appeared to be disabled within the meaning of the insurance contract.

This case raises interesting privacy issues. Are photos posted on a social media website personal information? Are employers, disability carriers, and other organizations prohibited from using such information? If not prohibited, are there limitations? Put simply, are employers (or, in this case, insurers) able to use the Internet to collect information about their current or future employees?

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