There has been a recent wave of headlines referencing incidents in which employees have been fired as a result of their online conduct, usually on Facebook or personal blogs. Human resources professionals seem to be struggling to deal with this relatively new issue effectively, and are often at a loss as to how to monitor and respond to employee online behaviour. What is often ignored, however, is how companies, and HR persons in particular, can use social media to their advantage.
In order to be in a position to dismiss an employee for cause, it is critical that the employer have appropriate documentation. However, many managers and supervisors unwittingly place their employers in a weakened legal position by failing to use performance and salary reviews properly.
A topic that I address often in presentations and with clients is the failure, on the part of the vast majority of employers in Canada, to use employment agreements properly (if at all). As I have said many times, policies and agreements are the easiest ways for employers to establish the rights and obligations of the parties and avoid having them imposed by common law or other principles.