Can an employee be sanctioned for his comments on social networks

Can an employee be sanctioned for his comments on social networks? 

Nowadays, more and more employees are venting on social networks to express their dissatisfaction with their employer, even if it means posting “inappropriate” comments there. But can we really inflict a sanction on them for these slippages? ?

Social networks and professional sphere:

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. are platforms that allow users to create profiles to communicate and share information.

However, for some time now, the limits of use of these social networks have been increasingly pushed back. Some use it to defame, others to humiliate acquaintances, etc. causing scandals, even endless dramas.

The war between employer and employee is now part of it.

Indeed, more and more employees are using these platforms to post “inappropriate and hateful remarks” about their employer without knowing that their thoughtless gesture can have serious consequences on their professional life.

They can range from a simple warning to a dismissal depending on the seriousness of the problem as in the LOL league affair. Some employers even take legal action against their employees.

Applicable laws:

Who has not dreamed of venting their anger against their superior at some point? ? There are surely many people involved. And many have no doubt already done so. But it is important to know that these criticisms, if they are expressed on a wall of social networks or in a group, of a public nature, French legislation allows the victim to sue the user of the profile.

But the law also protects users by imposing certain limits on the parameter of their account.

Indeed, according to the judgment of September 12, 2018 of the Court of Cassation: “Do not constitute serious misconduct, abusive remarks disseminated by an employee on a Facebook social network account accessible only to people approved by him and composing a closed group of 14 people, such remarks being a private conversation”.

Thus, the comments made by the employee vis-à-vis his employer on social networks are only liable to sanctions if more than 14 people have seen the publication.

Consequently, if they go beyond this private circle, the comments (insulting, defamatory, aggressive or excessive) will be considered as an abuse of freedom of expression justifying dismissal for serious misconduct. Quite simply because it can cause harm to the company even if they do not directly target the latter.

Attention ! This regulation only applies to publications posted on the Facebook social network. When it comes to a publication on Twitter Or instagram and others, that's a whole other story. Here, the “public” and “private” publications also determine the sanction.

From the moment they are accessible to the general public, they can be grounds for serious misconduct if they harm the interests of the employer and his company.