The Metro has reported that three civil servants have been dismissed from the Home Office following allegations they breached social media guidelines.
Information obtained through a Freedom of Information request has revealed that the dismissals followed postings on Facebook, MySpace and Bebo that brought the government department into disrepute, in breach of an internal social media policy. A further employee is said to have been warned over a ‘security breach’ on Facebook.
This new information follows a similar release in December 2012, when it was reported that eleven civil servants were dismissed for breaching government social media guidelines. It would appear that the UK Government is sending a strong message to its employees and sticking rigidly to the policies it has it place.
Although we do not know the facts of each case, it is fair to say that a hard line is being taken, possibly as a warning to other employees.
If a company has a policy in place, it is important that it is adhered to and applied consistently. However, it is essential that each case is determined on its own merits following a good investigation and a fair process. Just because a policy is breached, dismissal should not necessarily be the only outcome and the range of disciplinary options available should be carefully considered.