22 November 2012 0 Comments

Facebook: Getting the legal aspect right when employer misfires

Author: yinkaolaito

Yinka Olaito is happy,excited and passionate Communications & Media specialist, Trainer and speaker. Yinka Olaito helps Profits and Non-profits with effective communication and positioning for premium service delivery and returns. Yinka Olaito also has special interest in Development Communication and has consulted for noted UN Agencies. Yinka Olaito is the CCO of Michael Sage Consulting(Communication/digital media), African Child Education Right Initiatives(NGO) and Content Director, Africa Development Talk( online Platform for discussion on Policy, Governance, development across Africa) and Africa Foundation for Young Media Professionals

Governor Yisa Yuguda of Bauchi State, BAuchi State Nigeria, FAceBook Abuses, Governor Yuguda sacks employee for FaceBook, Legal Aspect of Social Media, Employee Social Media activities, Employee and Employers' Online Relations, Government and Social media useThe challenges of Social Media and its advantages look like an intimidating mountain before a climber who is poised to win.  To win the medal the mountain climber needs to keep moving on to the peak. A successful user of Social media as well as  professional must continues to experiment despite the challenges. In our nation, part of the problems associated with the Social Media is absence of legal frameworks that will guide. As we know, human beings are prone to mistakes, misconduct and sometimes can be mischievous.

The legal frameworks do not need to be more of penal codes but something that will help shape individual and corporate behaviours. As we know, where no guide is, abuses are ten for penny. Interestingly, given the monumental shift in communication trend and the influx of the use of social media it will be right to consider legal frameworks for simple stuff like what constitute abuses in information dissemination and meaningful interactive exchange between people, employee and employers? When can someone cries foul for privacy invasion?

In advanced Countries we have laid down rules which include the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) and the Communications Decency Act (CDA). There is also National Labour Relations Acts’ impact on Social Media-related employee discipline. This Act had protected some employees from Unlawful discharge or discipline for the employees’ online activities. This is often attributed to where a post by an employee on social media is deemed to have breached ‘protected activity’

Even in such cases, the employee most times understands what constitutes ‘protected activity’.  For this, it becomes obvious there will be punishment for violation. With this said, we have case study (which is not fully confirmed) but which has gained prominence and viral status. The story is covered by Premium Times and many other online media platforms. This story is centred around how Governor Yisa Yuguda of Bauchi State (NorthEast) Nigeria sacked an employee of the state because of his post on FaceBook which bothers on the Governor’s reckless spending and alleged cases of monumental fraud. While we are still working hard on confirming the authenticity of this story, here are some questions we can consider.

Where there is no policy regarding Social Media should discipline be applied for wrongdoings?: According to the story, the head of Service of the State gave the reason for Mr. Faggo’s termination as ‘your service is no longer required’. But the reason for his actual termination if the story is anything to go bye was traceable to his Facebook post. Should this be? Does Bauchi State have social media policy for the employee? If not why should someone be punished for offences not captured in Human Resources employees’ handbook/guideline?

What constitutes official privacy?: What can we say constitutes official privacy or insult on the personality of the State Governor? Where is the boundary line between personal opinion as a concerned stakeholder in the affairs of the State and State official Secret Acts?

When is/can an employee or employer files litigation on E-discovery or terminate appointment?: in addition to the above, can we ask when can an employee files litigation for management abuses and infringement on personal right to freedom of speech? Also when can employer fires an employee based on e-discovery of illegal information dissemination?

These and many others are our concerns and we will want to read from our community members.

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