• Sweden's news in English

Wrong to fire staff for Facebook folly: study

The Local · 1 Sep 2012, 08:20

Published: 01 Sep 2012 08:20 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

According to the survey by The Swedish Confederation for Professional Employees (TCO), all those who have lost their jobs for social media indiscretion and have sought legal recourse have been awarded compensation.

TCO lawyers have concluded from the rulings that employers are often too quick to act to punished perceived disloyalty.

"They have obviously done so in these cases anyway," said lawyer Dan Holke to the TCO Tidningen trade journal.

Holke pointed out however that nothing is known about any other cases which have not been subjected to a legal process.

The Local reported in May about a case opened by the trade union Unionen against a firm from Piteå in northern Sweden on behalf of two employees fired after posting "threatening" comments against a manager on Facebook.

The case ended with a compensation award for the two employees.

At the end of a March the Swedish Labour Court (Arbetsdomstolen) ruled in favour of the so-called "sex rector" who was fired from his job as head of a school in Luleå due to his membership of a number of Facebook groups such as "50 reasons to have sex" and "we are sex mad".

The court ruled that the memberships were a private matter and thus not grounds for dismissal and he was awarded compensation.

"That one generally acts stupidly in one's free time is not enough to be fired," Dan Holke concluded from the case.

The other three cases concerned public sector employees - with two blogging about politics and the third a police officer who was accused of obscenity.

Despite the guidance provided by the five court cases, TCO concluded that the use of social media is fraught with legal uncertainty with regard to the balance between a duty of loyalty and the right to freedom of expression.

Story continues below…

"It is hard to draw any far-reaching conclusions as there are so few cases. But the cases confirmed anyway that public sector employees enjoy more freedom to express themselves."

TT/The Local/pvs


The Local (news@thelocal.se)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

14:08 September 1, 2012 by DavidtheNorseman
That one generally acts stupidly in one's free time is not enough to be fired," Dan Holke concluded from the case.

Finally some common sense! The division between private life and work life ought to be absolute. - and social media is private life.

Every company using disiplinary measures over social media comments/actions ought to be fined severely and the senior managers fined severely as individuals.
17:06 September 1, 2012 by Abe L
#1 - I find threatening a manager on facebook not private life, yet those two got away with it and in fact got compensated for it.

Otherwise agree that they should be and remain separated, but once an employee decides otherwise they have nothing other then the consequence of their own actions to face.

If an employee publicly associates itself with a company and their actions or postings give the company a bad name, reputation or otherwise have a negative impact on it's revenue then it should really be possible to terminate their employment on the spot.
17:50 September 1, 2012 by Hisingen
Heaven protect us from facebook, and the idiots who lay themselves open to ridicule on it..
Today's headlines
Trollhättan remembers school attack victims
'It was an attack on all of Sweden,' Education Minister Gustav Fridolin said. Photo: Thomas Johansson/ TT

Hundreds of people on Saturday turned out for a torchlight procession in the small town of Trollhättan in southwestern Sweden to honour the victims of last year’s deadly school attack there.

Sweden wants emission-free cars in EU by 2030
Photo: Jessica Gow/ TT

Sweden's environment minister on Saturday urged the European Union to ban petrol and diesel-powered vehicles from 2030.

Hundreds protest Swedish asylum laws
Around 1,000 people protested in Stockholm. Photo: Fredrik Persson/ TT

Hundreds of people on Saturday demonstrated in Stockholm and in many other parts of the country to protest Sweden’s tough new laws on asylum-seekers.

Dylan removes Nobel-mention from website
The American musician has more or less responded to the news with silence. Photo: Per Wahlberg

American singer-song writer Bob Dylan has removed any mention of him being named one of this year’s Nobel Prize laureates on his official website.

Refugee crisis
Asylum requests in Sweden down by 70 percent
Sweden's migration minister Morgan Johansson. Photo: Christine Olsson/TT

Sweden received 70 percent fewer requests for asylum in the period between January and September 2016 than it did during the same time last year, the country’s justice and migration minister Morgan Johansson has revealed.

The unique story of Stockholm's floating libraries
The Stockholm archipelago book boat. Photo: Roger Hill.

Writer Roger Hill details his journeys on the boats that carry books over Stockholm's waterways and to its most remote places.

Refugee crisis
Second Stockholm asylum centre fire in a week
The new incident follows a similar fire in Fagersjö last week (pictured). Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Police suspect arson in the blaze, as well as a similar incident which occurred last Sunday.

More misery for Ericsson as losses pile up
Ericsson interim CEO Jan Frykhammar presenting its third quarter results. Photo: Claudio Bresciani/TT

The bad news just keeps coming from the Swedish telecoms giant.

Facebook 'sorry' for removing Swedish cancer video
A computer displaying Facebook's landing page. Photo: Christine Olsson/TT

The social media giant had censored a video explaining how women should check for suspicious lumps in their breasts.

Watch this amazing footage of Sweden’s landscapes
A still from the aerial footage of Sweden. Photo: Nate Summer-Cook

The spectacular drone footage captures both Sweden's south and the opposite extreme, thousands of kilometres north.

Sponsored Article
This is Malmö: Football capital of Sweden
Fury at plans that 'threaten the IB's survival' in Sweden
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
Here's where it could snow in central Sweden this weekend
Analysis & Opinion
Are we just going to let half the country die?
Blog updates

6 October

10 useful hjälpverb (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! I think the so-called “hjalpverb” (auxiliary verbs in English) are a good way to get…" READ »


8 July

Editor’s blog, July 8th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hej readers, It has, as always, been a bizarre, serious and hilarious week in Sweden. You…" READ »

Sponsored Article
7 reasons you should join Sweden's 'a-kassa'
Angry elk chases Swede up a lamp post
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
The Local Voices
'Alienation in Sweden feels better: I find myself a stranger among scores of aliens'
People-watching: October 20th
The Local Voices
A layover at Qatar airport brought this Swedish-Kenyan couple together - now they're heading for marriage
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Swede punches clown that scared his grandmother
Sponsored Article
Swedish for programmers: 'It changed my life'
Fans throw flares and enter pitch in Swedish football riot
Could Swedish blood test solve 'Making a Murderer'?
Sponsored Article
Top 7 tips to help you learn Swedish
Property of the week: Linnéstaden, Gothenburg
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Swedish school to build gender neutral changing room
People-watching: October 14th-16th
Sponsored Article
'There was no future for me in Turkey'
Man in Sweden assaulted by clowns with broken bottle
Sponsored Article
‘Extremism can't be defeated on the battlefield alone’
Nobel Prize 2016: Literature
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Watch the man who discovered Bob Dylan react to his Nobel Prize win
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
Record numbers emigrating from Sweden
Sponsored Article
'There was no future for me in Turkey'
People-watching: October 12th
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
The Local Voices
'Swedish startups should embrace newcomers' talents - there's nothing to fear'
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
How far right are the Sweden Democrats?
Property of the week: Triangeln, Malmö
Sweden unveils Europe's first elk hut
People-watching: October 7th-9th
The Local Voices
Syria's White Helmets: The Nobel Peace Prize would have meant a lot, but pulling a child from rubble is the greatest reward
Missing rune stone turns up in Sweden
Nobel Prize 2016: Chemistry
jobs available