Abuse on twitter about colleague in office

(18 Posts)
ijustwanttobeme Tue 13-Nov-12 20:18:50

Please can someone advise.

I work in local government in a team of 14.

There is a member of staff who has been tweeting about our immediate boss. Now I don't mean, ' bad day at work, boss is a nightmare', but more offensive and bordering on threatening, eg: that f'in c* , let's see what happens to her outside of work' . There is criticism of boss's management style, the fact that member if staff got boss into trouble ( told lies about procedure taken) and other comments usually with the c word used to describe my boss.

It was bought to boss's attention and she took it to higher management . They agree tweets are horrid but don't want to do any more than make the employee aware that they know. It won't be on her record or anything. This is because she has recent issues re: alcohol and has just returned to work having been off sick with depression.

They have also said that if it was other way round and my boss was doing the tweeting it could be classed as bullying, but not the other way round.

HR told her there was no policy for this type of issue!

So does my boss just have to put up with it, as she has been advised?

ijustwanttobeme Tue 13-Nov-12 20:51:33

Bumping thread

Trazzletoes Tue 13-Nov-12 20:55:30

Oh my word! I have no idea about the solution but that's absolutely terrible! No way should your boss have to put up with that! Surely if there are threats, your boss could take it to the police?!

Absolutely appalling that management aren't doing more.

Where the hell can you live that local government don't have a policy on this?

They'd get very fired in all the LA's I can think of.

Pooka Tue 13-Nov-12 21:01:13

No no no no way should she have to put up with abuse via twitter. Hr surely must have a policy re: electronic/computer abuse or bringing organisation inp disrepute.

And of ourselves bullying can go both ways.

Pooka Tue 13-Nov-12 21:01:34

Of course

hermioneweasley Tue 13-Nov-12 21:04:12

I can't think of a workplace that woukdn't regard that as gross misconduct. I am astonished. In fact, I would consider the employer's refusal to do anything grounds for constructive dismissal (and I never say that).

If the individual spoke to her at work like that, how would it be handled? Social media is no different - In Fact it's worse as you have no control over who sees it and where it goes. Depression and alcohol dependency are no excuses and are complete red herrings.

I am utterly astonished and so angry for your boss.

Pooka Tue 13-Nov-12 21:09:33

Totally agree with hermione

guffaw Tue 13-Nov-12 21:16:03

this doesn't surprise me for a LA situation- employee with substance misuse/mental health issue who intimidates and verbally abuses our manager and co-workers is protected by a package for her of; counselling, assertiveness training, supported supervision, and team are told she hasn't really been that bad -she just doesn't have good social skills, we're all seething, manager off with stress, she looks like getting a promotion.

kernowgal Tue 13-Nov-12 21:56:14

Balls, posted on the other thread and didn't see this one! I think:

Er, no I don't think she does. First and foremost she should complain to Twitter as they can shut down the offending person's profile if they think they're out of order. However the Twitter help centre's webpage is patronising in the extreme so I'm not sure she'd get the result she wanted!

Also: has this person been tweeting these messages during work time? As I think any company would take a dim view of this, especially as it will likely contravene any IT policy in place. If this is the case I would expect HR to follow a formal warning procedure.

Finally if she's making specific threats of violence against your boss, which I would take "let's see what happens to her outside work" to be, then I would consider giving the police a call on 101 to see what they advise. It may be that nothing can be done until it escalates but if I were your boss I'd be pretty pissed off at the HR department's response. How is it not bullying just because it's not a senior member of staff behaving badly towards a junior?

ijustwanttobeme Tue 13-Nov-12 21:57:35

guffaw: that is pretty much the same scenario here too.

Everyone tiptoes around her as she also has a disability issue that always gets brought up, so no one is keen to implement the same disciplinary measures the rest of the team would be subject to.

We have a dignity at work policy, an IT at work policy, bullying and harassment policy, equal opportunities; and yet none of these seem to help my boss.

She is in the Union and is considering speaking to them tomorrow.

This does not affect me or my c

ijustwanttobeme Tue 13-Nov-12 21:59:56

Colleagues directly, but we were wondering if we went to the management higher up the ladder to express our disappointment at the way this situation is being handled.

guffaw Tue 13-Nov-12 22:09:32

be careful, we approached HR and senior manager, and have been told we are witch hunting. Union suggest we each have to report only what happens to us as an individual, preferably if there is a witness otherwise its one person's word against another's, so HR wont rule on it.

ijustwanttobeme Tue 13-Nov-12 22:10:42

Tweets are generally done outside work hours, but one or two may have been during work hours- although don't think any to do with current situation.

Does it matter that this is about work but her rants ( and mostly that is what they are) are done late in the evening.

She has form for this. Previously she ranted about our LA on Facebook after a drunken Xmas party incident. Again she was spoken to about it, but blamed it on alcohol and the matter was dropped.

TynesideBlonde Tue 13-Nov-12 22:11:18

That is outrageous conduct, and it is equally bad that HR won’t act. It would absolutely be covered under ‘respect for others’ within bullying and harassment, and also IT Acceptable Use policy if employee is using via LA network. Your boss should involve her union. You could suggest to senior management that the employee’s Twitter ranting makes you feel threatened but you wouldn’t want it to appear that your boss is inciting her team against this person.

ijustwanttobeme Wed 14-Nov-12 20:19:03

Update:I went to the union who advised above scenario was most definitely bullying and wtf was management doing saying it only is classed as such if its senior staff to junior staff!

Was given the social media p my boss found more tweets about disgruntled team member arranging for someone to have access to office, so shit can be put on boss's chair!

She printed these and went to her line manager. Initially he said that

ijustwanttobeme Wed 14-Nov-12 20:26:50

Update:I went to the union who advised above scenario was most definitely bullying and wtf was management doing saying it only is classed as such if its senior staff to junior staff!

Was given the social media policy which relates more to inappropriate use on our workplace twitter and Facebook sites. But would it still applies I think to staff using their own accounts?

however, my boss found more tweets about disgruntled team member arranging for someone to have access to office, so shit can be put on boss's chair! And so on.

She printed these and went to her line manager. Initially he said that because the social media policy has just been updated and staff haven't signed the new one, it can't be used in this case.

hermioneweasley Wed 14-Nov-12 20:31:53

Ijustwant - the bit about the policy being updated is nonsense. Yes, it helps to have up to date policies in place so there can't be any misunderstanding about what is acceptable, but the behaviour you are describing is so clearly unacceptable that you don't need a policy to spell it out. I can't believe her manager is being so gutless! I would be tempted to get signed off sick with stress and send a grievance to the CEO of the council.

I stress again, this woman's alcoholism and mental health are red herrings. Alcohol addiction is a specific exception to disability discrimination, and disability discrimination (for her mental health) only requires the employer to make reasonable adjustments. Nobody would think it was reasonable to allow this woman t continue in this manner.

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