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Can employees be disciplined for their Facebook comments? – Laurent Guardelli et Léa Fonseca – ILO

Introduction

Although web anonymity is a thing of the past, many people do not seem to mind, often sharing intimate secrets online.

However, although everyone is entitled to privacy, what happens when an employer discovers that an employee has criticised, mocked or insulted the company, other employees or management on Facebook?
Even though such comments are made outside the workplace, they may constitute grounds for dismissal if they amount to an abuse of the freedom of expression or a breach of the duty of loyalty
inherent in employment contracts.

The courts must therefore focus on whether statements made by an employee fall within the scope of their private life. If so, any penalty should be invalidated based on the employee’s right to privacy (Article 9 of the Civil Code).

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