The following examples may sound familiar, as they were widely reported on:

  • In 2013, PR Officer Justine Sacco tweeted “Going to Africa. Hope I don’t get AIDS. Just kidding. I’m white.” She then boarded an 11 hour flight to South Africa and by the time she landed her tweet had ‘gone viral’ and the company she worked for soon after released a statement confirming that it had “parted ways” with Ms. Sacco¹.
  • In 2016, a Registered Nurse in Saskatchewan, Canada named Carolyn Strom was disciplined by the local Registered Nurses’ Association after being found guilty of professional misconduct after making a critical Facebook post. The Facebook post criticized a care home where the nurse’s grandfather was cared for. The issue was not that the nurse had vented her frustration, but it was how she did it. By posting the criticism on Facebook, changing the settings of the post so it was accessible by anyone and then tweeting a link to the post, the nurse had brought the entire profession in for criticism without first exhausting proper complaint procedures. The nurse was suspended from practice and fined USD26,000 (USD25,000 of which was towards the legal fees stemming from her unsuccessfully challenging the decision)².
  • In 2019, radio personality Danny Baker was fired by the BBC over an alleged racist tweet of a photo with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and their new baby. The image was of the couple holding hands with a suited chimpanzee with the caption: “Royal Baby leaves hospital.” He was fired the next day³.

These are just a few examples where employers took steps to discipline employees for off-duty social media conduct wherein the employer’s reputation was, by implication, put at risk. A common theme we find where we have advised on similar cases is that employees often do not know that what they say via their social media accounts may be held against them with their employer.

In Bermuda, the Employment Act 2000 speaks to employees being liable for termination if the serious misconduct has a detrimental effect on the employer’s business4. This would include a detrimental effect on an employer’s reputation.

Most employment contracts include the standard provision that an employee should not do anything that would bring the employer’s reputation into disrepute. However, we strongly encourage employers to update any policies to include specific guidance on social media and to make it clear to employees that what they tweet/post could cost them their job.

Type

Insight

Locations

Bermuda

Share
Twitter LinkedIn Email Save as PDF
More Publications
19 Jul 2019 |

Landscape of Bermuda financial sanctions

In the ever-changing world of politics and their related global financial sanctions, it is imperativ...

18 Jul 2019 |

Bermuda ILS overhaul welcomed but will new vehicles take off?

The ILS market has broadly welcomed moves by the Bermuda Monetary Authority (BMA) to create a new co...

8 Jul 2019 |

Bermuda to introduce new classes of insurers

Bermuda’s commitment to providing innovative solutions in the ever-evolving insurance marketplace ...

3 Jul 2019 |

Directors Unexpected Payroll Tax Liability

Payroll tax is levied against every employer, employee, self-employed person and deemed employee. Wh...

1 Jul 2019 |

Latest Developments in Bermuda’s Economic Substance Regime

The Economic Substance Amendment Act 2019 (Amendment Act) became operative on 28 June 2019. Bermuda ...

Contributors: Sally Penrose
26 Jun 2019 |

Regulatory Headwinds

Faced with increased scrutiny from regulators on both global and jurisdictional levels, businesses m...

Contributors: David Dorgan
24 Jun 2019 |

Appleby’s Adderley: Bermuda Eases Path to Collateralised ReInsurance

Partner Brad Adderley speaks to A.M. Best at the recent Bermuda Captive Conference. Brad says “Ber...

20 Jun 2019 |

Bermuda ILS Executive Roundtable 2019

Welcome to Artemis’ fourth ILS executive roundtable in Bermuda, in which our participants discusse...

7 Jun 2019 |

Art of negotiation: Tips on working out a commercial deal

Negotiation in the classic diplomatic sense assumes parties are more anxious to agree than to disagr...

Contributors: Matthew Ebbs-Brewer
7 Jun 2019 |

Flexible ISAC law to offer client solutions

Final consultations are now taking place in respect of the Incorporated Segregated Accounts Companie...