Mazur v Crediton Dairy Ltd: employment tribunal upholds unfair dismissal claim
An employment tribunal has ruled a dairy worker sacked after posting a selfie on Facebook wearing an Osama bin Laden facemask was unfairly dismissed.
Mr Mazur was a lab technician. He spent his working days in isolation in a sealed room testing samples of milk, water and chemicals.
He took a ‘selfie’ at work while wearing a rubber Osama bin Laden facemask and put this on his Facebook profile. The photograph also partly showed the logo of his employers.
Mr Mazur was dismissed on the ground of gross misconduct. The company also stated that by posting the image on Facebook, he had damaged the company’s reputation. He issued a claim for unfair dismissal.
Mr Mazur’s claim was upheld and the Employment Tribunal ruled he had been unfairly dismissed.
But it also agreed he had contributed to his own dismissal by his foolish actions and that any award made will be reduced by 60%.
What this means for you
Be wary of taking knee-jerk reactions to issues of perceived misconduct.
There was no evidence produced that the employer’s reputation had been damaged at all. Nor did the employer have a policy warning the employee of the consequences of social media misuse. So the reaction of the company was disproportionate to the offence in these specific circumstances.
This is not to say that action can’t be taken for such misconduct. It can and should. But you should consider what the appropriate penalty is in the circumstances.
I tend to recommend resisting the urge to go straight for dismissal and not to jump to conclusions for a first offence. Look at all the circumstances, including who has seen the image or comment and whether there were any actual consequences.
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