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Two Danish cases regarding employees’ criticism of employers on social media

Two Danish cases regarding employees’ criticism of employers on social media

Danish court accepts summary dismissal of employee due to criticism on LinkedIn 

A dismissed employee criticized the management in a mail correspondence on LinkedIn. The correspondence was made with a LinkedIn connection employed at one of the employer’s customers. The employee in question had been dismissed due to redundancies and the financial crisis.

In the LinkedIn correspondence, the employee criticized the management by saying that he did not believe that the company would be able to get back on track after the financial crisis due to the way the company was managed. The employee also made references to a certain person in Denmark who is connected with Hells Angels and indicated that the management would appreciate a person like that.

The employment was terminated without notice due to material breach of the employee’s loyalty obligation. The Danish court agreed that the employee’s correspondence on LinkedIn was a material breach of the loyalty obligation and, therefore, a material breach of the employment. The court did not regard the correspondence on LinkedIn as a private correspondence.

The Danish Labor Arbitration accepted dismissal but not summary dismissal of an employee who criticized the employer on Facebook 

The employee in question had on Facebook posted ”[name] is considering to say fuck to everything and let them win their harassment”. Later, she wrote ”Now I may finally get something for the money I have paid to the union. Game over, [name of employer]” and ”It is over, the limit has been reached and war has been declared.”

Some of the Facebook friends were employed at the employer’s customers and competitors. The employer terminated the employment without notice due to material breach.

The arbitrator ruled that the termination of employment without notice was not justified because the statements on Facebook were not a material breach of employment. However, the arbitrator did rule that a dismissal would have been reasonable. The statements on Facebook were negative towards the employer and they could harm the employer. Although, the language on Facebook is very similar to the spoken language and although it was only published to her Facebook friends, the statements were public criticism of the employer which was also received by employees at the employer’s customers and competitors (Facebook friends) and which could be used against the employer.

Anja Bülow Jensen

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