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Employee fairly dismissed for historic tweets

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A Judge has ruled that a senior employee who wrote derogatory comments about his colleagues and his employer on social media up to three years ago was fairly dismissed.

The employee, Mr Creighton, worked his way up the jobs ladder of a housing association, eventually landing a lead gas engineer role in 2014, the Employment Tribunal heard.

But an investigation sparked by his employer after a colleague accused Mr Creighton of bullying found a number of historic derogatory comments on the social media platform Twitter.

The employer subsequently dismissed Mr Creighton for gross misconduct after the discovery of these tweets, the Court heard.

Mr Creighton argued that he thought his tweets were private and that he “deserved to be treated sympathetically” after 30 years’ service.

The Tribunal dismissed his unfair dismissal appeal, saying: “The derogatory comments had been made on an open Twitter account, were visible to anyone and would be there forever.

“As part of the investigation the claimant’s Twitter account was examined. The claimant was invited to comment upon the various postings. He had the opportunity…to offer his explanations but did not come up with anything that satisfied [the employer].

“In my judgement this makes the respondent’s investigation into the tweets reasonable and fair.”