Firing an Employee for “unethical” actions

Nov 8, 2017

An employee in the USA was fired yesterday for showing “middle finger” to the president Donald Trump. “Basically, you cannot have lewd or obscene things in your social media” was the explanation of her employer.

Will your company in Canada be able to fire or discipline employees for similar actions? Will your company be properly protected if it decided to do so? How to get prepared for similar situations in the future? And more importantly – how to protect your company from reputational damages that this type of behaviour can cause?

In this day and age almost every action of your employees, as private as it can be, might become connected and associated with your company. Different cultural, political and social groups will wait for your response and use it to advance their purposes at your expense. The resulting business and reputational damages could be hard to assess. A Facebook or Instagram profanity post, explicit picture or insulting comment might become disastrous for your business, its sales, and its reputation. Sometimes, your disproportional or lack of response will initiate a public campaign against your company.

Although it is hard to predict any possible scenario and situation, certain corporate actions can prepare your organization to react properly and effectively in similar situations. Putting proper policies and procedures in place will allow you to react effectively, mitigate various risks and protect your reputation from association with similar types of public behaviour of your employees. Training your employees and making sure that they realize the connection between their actions and your company’s affairs, ensuring on-going compliance with these policies and having a corresponding disciplinary procedure and reaction plan in place will definitely beef-up your legal protection in similar situations. Moreover, it will allow you
to take the most favourable action in the circumstances in the most efficient and beneficial for your organization way.

At CBES, our experience in managerial, legal and administrative operations allows us to prepare your organization for similar situations and establish the compliance regime that will mitigate most of the risks associated with your employees’ behaviour.

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