Disciplinary process over employees slagging colleagues on private WhatsApp group

Discussion in 'Work, Careers, Employment rights, further study' started by Ladyjuicy08, 5 Dec 2018.

  1. Ladyjuicy08

    Ladyjuicy08 Registered User

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    A group from work have a private what app group that's only used outside of working hours on our personal phones. We were doing a gentle bit of slagging on it about someone from work who goes around slagging everybody off to their face & behind their backs.Someone from group screenshot it brought it to management attention Have work the right to bring a grievance even though company name wasn't mentioned only this person once and was a private group on our personal time and phones
     
  2. Sophrosyne

    Sophrosyne Frequent Poster

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    If it were me, I would disengage from the WhatsAp group.

    Employers have duties, which can extend beyond the workplace. See the following:

    In McCamley v Dublin Bus, the complainant, Mr McCamley, was an employee of Dublin Bus and claimed that he had been harassed and victimised on the grounds of religion and race. The alleged harassment involved a series of communications via mobile phone, email and on Facebook from a number of individuals, including an employee of Dublin Bus. Section 14A(1) of the Irish Employment Equality Acts covers harassment against an employee at the place where the employee is employed or otherwise in the course of that employee’s employment.

    The Labour Court considered this concept in McCamley and determined that the test in harassment claims under the Employment Equality Acts is not akin to vicarious liability at common law:

    “Unlike vicarious liability, in the case of harassment committed by an employee on another employee there is no requirement to show that the wrongdoer was acting in the course, or within the scope, of his or her employment. Hence, it matters not that the harasser was off duty or at home when he posted the offending material. It is, however, essential that the victim suffered the harassment in the course of his or her employment.”

    The Court noted that the Employment Equality Act 1998 (Code of Practice) (Harassment) Order 2012 refers to non-workplace harassment as follows:

    “The scope of the sexual harassment and harassment provisions extend beyond the workplace, for example to conferences and training that occur outside the workplace. It may also extend to work-related social events.”

    The Court found that:

    “There must, however, be some discernible connection between the harassment and the victim's employment in the sense that the victim suffered the harmful effects of the harassment while he or she was engaged in activity authorised by the employer.”

    The Court concluded that the purpose and effect of the offending comments was to disparage and ridicule Mr McCamley in the eyes of his work colleagues. The comments were directed at Mr McCamley, and intended to impact on him, in his capacity as a worker representative for employees of Dublin Bus, a role which he was authorised to perform in the course of his employment.

    On this basis, the posting of the offending comments constituted harassment within the meaning of section 14A(1) of the Employment Equality Acts. However, Dublin Bus was able to rely of the defence provided by section 14A(2) of the Act, as the company had a policy against harassment at work and action was taken against the harasser under the disciplinary process.

    The Bellman and McCamley decisions show that an employer can be liable for inappropriate conduct that occurs outside of the work place. This may result in litigation under common law principles of vicarious liability or under the Employment Equality Acts. Each case will need to be assessed on its own merits to determine whether liability arises and applying the established principles of the Courts in each area of law.

    The McCamley decision is also particularly interesting as it shows how an employer can mitigate against the risks associated with an issue that is arises commonly in practice – potential harassment on social media - by ensuring that there is an appropriate dignity at work policy in place and taking action to deal with any complaints.
     
    thos likes this.
  3. Ladyjuicy08

    Ladyjuicy08 Registered User

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    Thanks

    The group has been disbanded but the employee has put a complaint in against all the members claiming bullying (even though he's said and done worse but apparently that doesn't matter as no-one complained)
    Is there no recourse of privacy for the person who screenshot it in the first place
    All it was was a picture of someone saying it looks like this person
     
  4. Sophrosyne

    Sophrosyne Frequent Poster

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    That person screenshot something from the WhatsApp group and brought it to management attention.

    Somehow the subject of the "gentle bit of slagging" found out.

    ???
     
  5. Tebbit

    Tebbit Frequent Poster

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    This IS bullying! :mad: I for one hope you and your friends learn a valuable lesson. Is this "a group from work" - everyone minus one????
    It's good that someone in the group had the cop on to say this isn't ok. The person was was the subject of that slagging probably feels awful right now. Perhaps a personal apology from you might help - it would be better than doing nothing.
     
    Purple likes this.
  6. Ladyjuicy08

    Ladyjuicy08 Registered User

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    Only few people in group and this guy is the same guy who slags everyone of at work including digs at a girl over the size of her breast/ sexuality but she never complained about it,no-one ever complains about him as we all just take it as 'banter.
     
  7. TrundleAlong

    TrundleAlong Registered User

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    So what you saw as banter is now going to turn in to a bullying/sexual harassment accusation against him?
     
  8. Ladyjuicy08

    Ladyjuicy08 Registered User

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    No I'm saying that we never complained about him even if a lot of people didn't like what he was saying so it's a bit rich for him to pull the bullying card over 1 meme from a private group
     
  9. Ladyjuicy08

    Ladyjuicy08 Registered User

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    Sorry yes a member of group screenshot the conversation and brought it to the attention of the person who was mentioned
     
  10. Purple

    Purple Frequent Poster

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    If it was getting to her or other people they should have complained. Don't blame him for doing something you or others should have done.
    It's one thing for a group of people to slag someone in the pub or something but in writing on a whatsapp group? What were you thinking?
     
    becky likes this.
  11. SBarrett

    SBarrett Frequent Poster

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    This is a case of two wrongs don't make a right. Just because he has pretty despicable standards, doesn't mean everyone else can lower themselves to his level and expect no consequences...even if it is him making the complaint.

    If he has made lewd comments about a woman's breasts/ sexuality, a complaint should be made against him. What decade are we living in where men think they can go around making comments like that and get away with it???
     
    dereko1969 and Purple like this.
  12. Brendan Burgess

    Brendan Burgess Founder

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    Correct.

    And victims of this guy's "banter" should make complaints about him.

    I pity your poor employer having to deal with stuff like this. They will be the big loser.

    Brendan
     
    Purple likes this.
  13. David1234

    David1234 Frequent Poster

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    Was it not someone in the group who actually complained and not the person you were making fun of?

    Retrospectively looking back on the actions of the person who was being made fun isn't fair. You should not choose to take offence now because it might lighten the potential punishment. The actions of the individual should of been reported at the time if they were offensive.
     
  14. Ladyjuicy08

    Ladyjuicy08 Registered User

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    Infairness there are a queue of people now willing to make complaints against him,he's opened a can of worms with making his complaint
     
  15. TrundleAlong

    TrundleAlong Registered User

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    I think the can of worms was already there on both sides. Isolating a staff member by setting up a WhatsApp group to pass comments about him behind his back is bullying.

    So the bullying continues. There is now a queue of people waiting to make complaints about him. Have the bullies invited more people to join their "small" group?
     
  16. Ladyjuicy08

    Ladyjuicy08 Registered User

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    Person in group sent him a screenshot so he complained about If person in group found anyth
    This group was not set up to isolate anyone it set up as a lotto group and in all the time it's been there 6 months this 1 time this 1 meme was shared and nothing else has ever been said shared in relation to anyone outside of the group
     
  17. TrundleAlong

    TrundleAlong Registered User

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    No, but your group is now scrambling to get others to join the queue to make complaints about him?

    Strange that all these people never felt the need to make any complaints about him in the past?
     
  18. Ladyjuicy08

    Ladyjuicy08 Registered User

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    No the group is still only for lotto but others at work know about the complaint and said that they also have has issues with him with things he's said to them no-one has been added to the group
    Has no-one ever annoyed u at work before and u complained in what u thought was a private group about them This group was not set up to slag anybody it was 1 instance and 1 meme that's all
     
  19. David1234

    David1234 Frequent Poster

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    I would hate to be in your HR department this week.

    Why are you still defending the actions of the person who shared the picture? They were wrong and should not of done so.

    Perhaps the person who's picture was shared was also wrong in their previous actions but they are two separate issues and should be dealt with as such.

    If I was the person who sent the message into the group I would be apologising for my actions and say that it was an error of judgement. I would not be justifying my actions by saying that the injured party deserved it because of alleged previous actions
     
  20. WaterWater

    WaterWater Frequent Poster

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    Who told them?