Facebook no nos: Part Two

by 17 Sep 2009

1. Don’t use Facebook to criticise your boss with other workmates

Six New South Wales corrective service offices have brought a case to the Industrial Relations Commission after threats were made to fire them over comments they made on Facebook, reported ABC News.

Criticism was directed at the Corrective Services Commissioner, Ron Woodham, and other staff in regards to planned privatisation of jails.

2. Don’t suggest changes for work over Facebook

A Montana police officer Cody Anderson resigned after a he updated his Facebook status to say that there should be a law allowing police to take people to jail for being “stupid”, reported the US ABC News.

Anderson apologised for his comment and said it did not reflect the attitude of his Bozeman police department. But a lawsuit has been filed against the city, Anderson and other officers, by a man who said his civil and constitutional rights were abused when he was wrongly arrested.

Anderson’s Facebook entry has been used to claim there was a lack of respect for citizens’ rights and a willingness to abuse positions of authority.

3. Don’t update your Facebook status about something work-related

In February, UK teenager Kimberley Swann was fired from her job after branding it “boring” on Facebook.

Her employment was terminated with immediate effect after the comments were discovered. She was handed a letter from her boss that said, “Following your comments made on Facebook about your job and the company we feel it is better that, as you are not happy and do not enjoy your work we end your employment with Ivell Marketing & Logistics with immediate effect.”

But Swann told the Telegraph that as an office administrator she knew it would be boring at first but would get more interesting.

“I did not even put the company’s name, I just put that my job was boring. They were just being nosy, going through everything. I think it is really sad, it makes them look stupid that they are going to be so petty,” she said.

4. Don’t post compromising photos of yourself or join questionable groups on Facebook

In NSW, the victim of an assault, Constable Robert Hogan, had aspects of his private life, which had featured on Facebook via photos and groups he had joined, tendered as evidence.

In January 2008, Hogan had poked his assailant, Corporal Aristotelis Koutsoubos, in the eye outside the Northies Cronulla Hotel, before the off-duty military commando bit his face, drawing blood and leaving a five-centrimetre gash.

Koutsoubos’ defence lawyers showed Facebook photos to the jury to paint Hogan as a heavy drinker. Photos were tendered with captions including “getting trashed” and “getting drunk” and his membership of two groups “I secretly want to punch slow-walking people in the back of the head” and “God created police so firefighers could have heroes” was revealed to the jury, reported the Sydney Morning Herald.

Ultimately, Koutsoubos was punished with a suspended sentence but not before Hogan’s private life was aired in court.

5. Don’t use your real name on Facebook

In a case in Canberra, lending company MKM Capital’s lawyers won the right to serve legally binding documents to defendants via their Facebook profiles.

After lawyer Meyer Vanderberg hired private investigators but failed to locate the couple at their home on several occasions between October and early December 2007, the Supreme Court granted the ability to serve judgement on the couple via Facebook.

The couple, Carmel Rita Corbo and Gordon Kingsley Maxwell Poyser had failed to pay mortgage loan repayments.

MKM’s lawyers proved their Facebook profiles belonged to them via dates of birth, email addresses, friend lists and the co-defendants were friends with one another, a spokesperson for the firm said.


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