Australian sacked for Facebook rant

Aug 18, 2011
An Australian man who posted a foul-mouthed rant against the management of the firm he worked for using social networking site Facebook has lost an employment tribunal appeal after he was sacked.

An Australian man who posted a foul-mouthed rant against management on social networking site Facebook has lost an employment tribunal appeal after he was sacked.

Damian O'Keefe, 28, claimed unfair dismissal, saying he posted the expletive-laden comments on his outside hours.

But Fair Work Australia, the country's workplace regulator, ruled that his employer, a homewares retailer, had the right to fire him.

O'Keefe admitted the post was about the firm's pay manager after writing that she was "useless", asking how she could "mess up my pay again" and saying they were "going down tomorrow".

But he said the comments were not intended for her eyes.

He was dismissed when he showed up for work the next day, with his boss telling him "You can't work here -- you made threats against us", according to the tribunal's written judgment that emerged Thursday.

"I can't keep you employed. What do I do if there are females who want to sue for ? It's best for you to just go," his supervisor said.

O'Keefe said he was angry about not receiving his commissions and had blocked the pay manager, Kelly Taylor, from seeing his comments.

But his meant 11 of his co-workers could read the post, and Fair Work adjudicator Deirdre Swan upheld his dismissal, finding that his actions constituted a serious breach of the company's employee regulations.

"The fact that the comments were made on the applicant's home computer, out of work hours, does not make any difference," Swan said.

"The comments were read by work colleagues and it was not long before Ms Taylor was advised of what had occurred."

She added the company had "rightfully submitted, in my view, that the separation between home and work is now less pronounced than it once used to be".

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User comments : 2

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krundoloss
5 / 5 (1) Aug 18, 2011
You just cant write bad things on Facebook, or emails, or text messages, etc. When will people learn that the written word is permanent, words are temporary. I dont even use facebook for this very reason.
Javinator
1 / 5 (1) Aug 18, 2011
It's like snail mailing a threat and saying you should be innocent because you didn't realize who you sent the letter who and that the letter was written from inside your house on your own paper with your own pen.