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Valid, but not always: dismissal for offensive remarks against the employer on social networks (Il Quotidiano del Lavoro, 11 May 2018 – Alberto De Luca, Lucio Portaro)

The Court of Cassation, with judgement No. 10280/2018, handled once again a case of dismissal ordered due to disparaging statements against the employer and its representatives through Facebook.
In the case in question, the judges of the court (Court of Forlì and Court of Appeal of Bologna) had already deemed legitimate the dismissal ordered to an employee for having expressed, via social networks, dislike for his job and the company property, using vulgar language.
The Court highlighted that the bond of trust at the basis of the employment relationship had been irremediably damaged because, a subjective point of view, the plaintiff’s conduct showed a behaviour characterized by gross negligence and, from an objective point of view, the dissemination of a defamatory message via Facebook could be defamation due to potential to reach an indeterminate number of people.
This ruling of the Court of Cassation reaffirms the trend in case law in favour of the lawfulness of dismissals ordered in those cases of misuse of social networks.
However, it is important to point out that, even in light of several previous cases, breach of the bond of trust cannot be automatically associated simply to a few critical words; instead it is necessary to perform a careful analysis of the circumstances regarding the manner and the place (including a virtual one) in which these words are expressed so as to understand the effective scope and assess whether a dismissal should be deemed lawful.

Read here the original version of this article published on Il Quotidiano del Lavoro.