Sunday August 8, 2010
Tweeting falsehood can cost you your job
By JOSEPH LOH
PETALING JAYA: Be careful what you tweet or post about your boss or colleagues on social networking sites – it can cost you your job!
Both the Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF) and Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) have warned employees they could face disciplinary action or even dismissal if their tweets or postings are found to be untrue or damaging to their companies.
According to MEF executive director Shamsuddin Bardan, while social networking is relatively new, the repercussions are no different from cases involving the use of e-mail.
Shamsuddin advised employees to use the appropriate channels if they had grievances to raise and not resort to airing them over Twitter, Facebook, Friendster or blogs.
“The postings of an employee can be considered as bringing disrepute to the company and action can be taken. In the case of inappropriate e-mails, companies have taken action, including dismissing them from their jobs,” he said.
Last December, a former bank employee was fined RM8,000 after he posted indecent material in a blog with intent to annoy his superior.
Shamsuddin said most companies had an internal mechanism to deal with the grievances.
“Employers should make sure that rules about Internet usage are clear to employees. But even if they don’t, the company can still take action,” he added.
MTUC secretary-general G. Rajasekaran said comments made on Twitter, Facebook or other social networking sites regarding one’s employer or company must be based on facts. Otherwise, workers should be prepared to face the consequences.
“People make all kinds of comments these days and everybody wants the freedom to say things or express their opinions, but these must be backed with facts and figures,” he said.
Rajasekaran, however, felt that appropriate online behaviour applied to all parties.
“If a company issues a warning letter to an employee, it would not be right for the employer to post it on Facebook,” he said.
Even politicians are not spared the consequences of posting what is deemed damaging to their political superiors or bosses.
Selangor Speaker Teng Chang Khim has been summoned to appear before the DAP disciplinary committee on Aug 12 to explain a “controversial” tweet he sent last Sunday over the sacking of Klang municipal councillor Tee Boon Hock which read “OMG! Real culprit freed”.
His brother, Teng Chang Yeow, who is Gerakan secretary-general, however, felt DAP’s approach was wrong since it was just a “small” comment.
“They have been asking for freedom of expression and free speech, so this is part and parcel of it,” he said. Gerakan has no ban on members using such tools, added Chang Yeow.
Tweet below the law