Dear employee....beware of what you say on and offline during these jollydays

2015-12-22 15:58

During much of my high school and varsity days on weekends and jollydays, by arrangement I used to collect and recycle bottles dumped by bars and hotels and sell them . In this way I made a few quid  or bobs,valuable spending money.

However, what I also became witness to is,especially during the festive(I refer to this as 'the jollydays') period,  people frequenting pubs and shebeens (now in sanitized lexicon referred to as "taverns") in my historical Casbah and what they used to say about the lahnees in colourful languages that would make even nuns blush!

And of course thankfully with little or no protection under our labour laws there was no internet or social media sites where they could unwind by venting their thoughts. Indeed a few nips or tots of your alcoholic beverage unsheathed more than the fly on one's pants....

Who remembers the pubs in the mountains . Clue? The Himalaya in the old Grey Street and the adjoining Kilmanjaro and not forgetting Peters Lounge way down in the confluence of Grey (Dr Yusuf Dadoo) and Pine (Dr Monty Naicker) Streets. Oh yes, even the Island View Hotel in Isipingo .

These days we have the Labour Relations Act which by and large has become a sword and a shield vis-a-vis dismissals etc . Note the last few words. It's not a license for mayhem and anarchy on and off the workplace!

Hence the title of this blog piece.

The jollydays is always the most days when employees go on line often times after downing a couple or to put it elegantly (in vino veritas). In simple jargon: dronk!

The problem even with moderate drinkers is that alcohol does more than untie inhibitions . It unlocks oftentimes common sense and sets the drinker down the slippery path to perdition.

It's not only those who consume alcohol,however, who find themselves in boiling water in the workplace.

If in doubt, check out judgments emanating from the labour courts.

And so I sincerely hope, my wise and caring followers and subscribers, that you, your friends and their friends heed this very serious issue.

Ignorance is not an option as one employee who posted what seemed an "innocuous" statement on twitter cost her her job. Yes, she was fired. Although this was based on American labour law and company policy, SA law, is abreast with international developments and good practice directives and regulations.

Err even what is posted by an employee is the truth. Be wise.

I have always held the firm opinion that what we post on twitter and/or facebook have serious, repeat, serious consequences. This, as well as the matter I refer to in the next paragraph gainsay how social media sites are become platforms for inappropriate comments bordering on slander, libel or defamation. Apart from that little do social mediaphiles realise that every word written or "uttered" on social media sites can prove to be toxic.

There was a case about which I tweeted and posted on facebook as well as mentioned in an blog piece earlier this year about an ex-wife who successfully sued her ex-husband and his wife for defamation and she was awarded damages in the sum of R40,000 and costs! Both the ex-husband, who did not post that status message but allowed his wife to post it on to his facebook page and his wife by second marriage were "jointly and severally" liable to pay.

As lawyer engaging the media and involved in media and employment related/ constitutional/human rights issues have been watching and reading with alarm how neglectful social mediaphiles can be. Developments in our law as well as bearing in mind decisions handed down in our courts must place everyone on warning.

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