The issue of offensive Facebook posts within the workplace has arisen in a recent decision of the Fair Work Commission (Campbell v Qube Ports Pty Ltd  FWC 1211). The decision concerned an employee, Stephen Campbell who had been dismissed for misconduct. The FWC found that Mr Campbell had engaged in misconduct including damaging a ship, taking an unauthorised phone onto the worksite, calling his supervisor a “f***ing liar” and being dishonest in respect of his employer. The FWC held that Mr Campbell’s conduct provided his employer with a valid reason for dismissal.
In reaching this decision, Deputy President Hamilton considered Mr Campbell’s employment history. In particular, Deputy President Hamilton considered a written warning that Mr Campbell had received after he made a post on Facebook which referred to the employer’s chairman as a “pig.” This post was shared by a number of employees of Qube. Deputy President Hamilton stated that, if this incident had been relied upon in the termination of Mr Campbell’s employment, he would have come to the conclusion that it was a valid reason for dismissal in the circumstances. Deputy President Hamilton stated:
“it is a serious matter for an employee to publicly or semi-publicly call the chairman of the company a ‘pig’, which is a rude and derogatory term carrying with it some contempt and hostility.”