This week has seen social networks accused of infantilising the minds of youngsters and described as a growing online attraction for those looking to find love while dodging associated stigmas. And today social networking is back in the news after a snooping employer used it to fire a teenaged member of staff.
In a story that certainly reinforces the benefits of actively protecting your online privacy, 16-year-old Kimberley Swann recently found herself shown the door at Essex-based Ivell Marketing and Logistics Limited after labelling her job as boring through Facebook.
Despite later insisting that she was not unhappy in her position as an administrator with the Clacton company, Swann was ‘sacked’ with immediate effect after bosses took issue with the negative comment she left on the hugely popular social network.
“They were just being nosey, going through everything,” said Swann regarding her dismissal, “I think it is really sad, it makes them look stupid that they are going to be so petty.”
In justifying the decision to terminate her position, company boss Steve Ivell explained that Swann had engaged in a “display of disrespect” by inviting other employees to view her Facebook comments, which resulted in making her job untenable.
He also equated Swann’s actions to pinning negative comments directly on a notice board within the office.
“Had Miss Swann put up a poster on the staff notice board making the same comments and invited other staff to read it there would have been the same result,” Ivell said to Sky News.
“We thought that Miss Swann’s best interests would be served by working for a company that would more suit her expectations,” he added.
In offering a note of advice to both parties, a representative of the Trades Union Congress (TUC) said employees need to better control public access to personal content posted through online communities, while businesses need to accept that not all employees are thrilled by their jobs.
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