UCL Faculty of Laws


Article by Prof Virginia Mantouvalou on employees using social media quoted in Financial Times

16 December 2019

A paper authored by Professor Mantouvalou has been quoted in a news article on the impact of social media on work, published in the Financial Times today.

Professor Virginia Mantouvalou

A journal article by Professor Virginia Mantouvalou, Professor of Human Rights and Labour Law at UCL Laws, has been quoted in the news article entitled ‘Money, trolls, timewasting: impact of social media on work’.

It refers to an academic article Professor Mantouvalou published last year (‘‘I Lost My Job Over a Facebook Post – Was that Fair?’ Discipline and Dismissal for Social Media Activity’), which discusses why employers in the UK may want to control employees’ social media activity – for example, in instances where it may negatively affect the workplace’s performance and reputation.

The article also discusses how policing employees’ social media posts may interfere with workers’ rights to privacy and the right to freedom of expression; and how accusations of social media breaches “may provide a perfect excuse to fire someone for unrelated underperformance”.

The argument of the article is that both the right to private life and the right to free speech are implicated in dismissals for social media activity, and that these dismissals should be viewed as lawful in very limited occasions, because employers should not have the right to censor the moral, political and other views and preferences of their employees even if it causes business harm.

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