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May 18, 2023
  • Seb has been employed by Longton Water Company plc, Northampton, maintaining and repairing water pipes since 10th March 2013. His hours of work are 8 am – 4 pm, Monday to Friday but additionally has to be on call one night a fortnight, 8 pm to 8 am on a rota basis with his colleagues. This is to cover any emergencies which might occur. Employees are prohibited from drinking alcohol whilst on call.  Seb is a very good employee who has excellent performance reviews.

    Seb’s Team Leader is Jack whom the team dislikes as he always ignores issues they raise about health and safety and is generally not very approachable.

    Two months ago Seb made a complaint about Jack’s behavior to the Maintenance Manager, Sam. Jack was annoyed at this and looked at Seb’s Facebook account. He discovered that it was not set to private so he looked through Seb’s posts. Jack saw a conversation in 2020 between Seb and one of his teammates, complaining about him and calling him rude and derogatory names. Seb also said that he was on call at the time of posting and was drinking Vodka and apple juice which he had not tried before but which was very nice. There was nothing on Seb’s Facebook page indicating who he was employed by.

    Jack reported these posts to the Operations Manager, Ali, who telephoned  Seb a month ago and told him to report to head office the next morning at 8 am for a meeting about his conduct. Seb asked a colleague to attend the meeting with him but he was unable to as he had to go to a medical appointment. Ali refused to postpone the meeting.  At the meeting, Seb was shown copies of his Facebook posts which surprised Seb as his account had been set to private.

    Seb said his Facebook account must have been hacked and that the comments were just a bit of banter between teammates and he meant no harm. He denied drinking alcohol and said he was only joking and would never drink whilst on call. He apologized for his comments.

    The next day Seb received an email that said he was being dismissed for gross misconduct as he was in breach of the company’s social media policy which said “ Any action on the internet which might embarrass Longton Water Company plc, for example by posting comments on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or other social networking platforms would amount to gross misconduct and could result in summary dismissal” and his comments would damage public confidence in the company.   Seb appealed against the decision but his appeal was not upheld.  Seb was paid his correct notice pay.

    Seb is very upset, particularly as the teammate he was chatting with on Facebook only received a final written warning.

    Advise Seb whether he can make any claims against Longton Water Company plc and if he were to be successful what his remedies would be.

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Total: GBP100

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