Private investigators and strikes

British Airways paid £1m to hush up the details of a spying operation in which the phones and emails of its own cabin staff were allegedly improperly accessed during a bitter dispute with Britain’s largest union...

Workplace trends and social media

ACAS has recently produced a document on contemporary workplace trends.
Included in this document is a consideration of social media as an emergent form of employee voice.
For more information click here.

Creating official narratives of war

The British army is creating a special force of Facebook warriors, skilled in psychological operations and use of social media to engage in unconventional warfare in the information age...

Against a background of 24-hour news, smartphones and social media, such as Facebook and Twitter, the force will attempt to control the narrative...

See British army creates team of Facebook warriors by Ewen MacAskill (The Guardian).

References and LinkedIn

LinkedIn is facing a class action lawsuit in California over its premium “reference search” function that allows employers to identify and approach applicants’ former colleagues.
Resourcing professionals who pay for premium LinkedIn account status are able to find people in their network who have worked at an organisation at the same time as a job applicant. Without informing them, the recruiter can then contact those individuals to ask about the candidates’ previous employment.
Four LinkedIn members, Tracee Sweet, Lisa Jaramillo, James Ralston and Tiffany Thomas, have filed a lawsuit claiming that the system violates the Fair Credit Reporting Act, a 1970 law enacted amid concern of potential misuse of consumer credit history...
For more details see Candidates sue LinkedIn over lost job opportunities (Robert Moss, Personnel Today).

Instagram for doctors

An app which enables healthcare professionals to share photos is to be rolled out across western Europe by the end of the year.

The app was designed to enable doctors to share pictures of their patients, both with each other and with medical students.

So far, more than 150,000 doctors have uploaded case photos with the patient's identity obscured...

For more information see 'Instagram for doctors' to be launched in Europe by Zoe Kleinman (BBC News).

Job hunting and Web 2.0

"It's not what you know but who you know," is an old saying about job-hunting.

In the world of social networks we "know" more people than ever and we can be connected to the people they know as well, making it easier to find work and hear about people using our personal networks...

See Why 50 is the magic number for job-hunting by Peter Bowes (BBC News) for more details.

Health employer uses YouTube for recruitment

A Scottish health board has uploaded a short film to video sharing website YouTube in a bid to recruit new staff.

The video promoting vacancies in NHS Highland's cancer treatment services is the first in a series the board plans to produce to attract new employees.

In the six-minute film, workers seek to dismiss misconceptions about the Highlands...

See NHS Highland uses YouTube in bid to new recruit staff (BBC News) for more details.

Employee rights and LinkedIn

Millions of us use professional network LinkedIn as a sales, marketing and database tool, either through personal profiles or LinkedIn groups.

Some of us have a few contacts, while others have hundreds – but the ownership of these on the site has been the subject of legal debate in the UK and abroad...

For more details see LinkedIn contacts: who owns what? (Philip Landau, The Guardian).

Employee fired for posting payslip online

A Brooklyn dad claims he was fired from his job as a salesman at Lacoste for posting a photo of his paycheck on Instagram...

For more details see Former Lacoste employee: I was fired for posting my paycheck on Instagram (Carole Kuruvilla, NY Daily News).

Police officer quits over Twitter comments about Thatcher

A police officer who reportedly wrote on Twitter that he hoped Baroness Thatcher's death was "painful and degrading" has resigned.
Sgt Jeremy Scott of the Metropolitan Police is understood to have published a number of offensive messages since the former prime minister's death.
Sgt Scott is said to have claimed her death was "87 years too late" and added that the world was a "better place"...
For more details see Thatcher 'death Tweet' policeman Jeremy Scott quits (BBC News).

TUC blog

It would appear that some one at the TUC or who has close links with the TUC has set up a blog to criticise the TUC.

The blog is called What's wrong at the TUC.

Employees take over official corporate Twitter feed

HMV Twitter feed

According to an article in the Guardian yesterday, disgruntled HMV employees briefly took over the company's official Twitter account on Thursday to express their extreme dissatisfaction at being sacked by the ailing retailer.
More details:
On Thursday afternoon one or more angry employees took to the microblogging site to vent their anger and "tweet live from HR". They managed to post seven subversive messages [see image above] before the company regained control of the account and deleted the posts.

Sexist Brazilian police officer fired for Twittering

According to the BBC News website, a Brazilian police inspector has lost his job after using Twitter to criticise women who worked for him.
Some more details:
Pedro Paulo Pinho tweeted that out of the 14 women staff of a Rio de Janeiro police station "only one had the talent, courage and determination needed for police work".

Barrister IT misbehaviour

Just seen article in the The Times that is about barristers Googling for information about jurors in order to win sympathy for the people they represent.

Quite unethical in my opinion, but until something substantial can be done to prevent it such practice is not going to go away.

For more details see: Threat to the courts system as barristers google jurors then alter speeches to win sympathy (Frances Gibb), although these days you have to subscribe to The Times to get full access to the full article.

IT misbehaviour

I saw a great IT misbehaviour story on the BBC News website today.

Some details:

A security check on a US company has reportedly revealed one of its staff was outsourcing his work to China.

The software developer, in his 40s, is thought to have spent his workdays surfing the web, watching cat videos on YouTube and browsing Reddit and eBay.

He reportedly paid just a fifth of his six-figure salary to a company based in Shenyang to do his job.

For more details see US employee 'outsourced job to China'.

Facebook misbehaviour at DVLA

Looks like employees at DVLA have been up to mischief again!

See DVLA: Seven staff suspended for posting "inappropriate" Facebook comments for more details (BBC News).

Blogging and anonymity

Many work blogs are renowned for being written in an anonymous fashion.

An article and radio programme by an anonymous blogger has recently appeared on the BBC News website.

See Belle de Jour's history of anonymity.

The radio programme, as told by the Brooke Magnanti (Bell de Jour blog), can be found here.

Police blogger wins award

There was an article in The Guardian today about an award winning police blog.

The blog is called Mental Health Cop.

The award is by Mind (mental health charity).

For more details of the story see Beyond the call of duty (Mary O'Hara).

Neurodiversity in the workplace

This post is on a topic that deviates somewhat from what this blog is typically based on.

Myself and colleagues at Heriot-Watt University have just finished a research project on neurodiversity and the workplace, with the focus on people who work in the transport and travel industry.

Neurodiversity, for the purpose of this research, relates to conditions such as dyslexia, dyspraxia, dyscalculia, ADD/ADHD and Asperger syndrome.

The research was commissioned by the TSSA trade union.

The report looks at three things in particular:

1) Knowledge of neurodiverse conditions.

2) Attitudes towards the term "neurodiversity".

3) Perceived level of support and perceived level of support for employees with a neurodiverse condition.

If you would like to view the report click here.

Managing corporate image through Twitter and Wikipedia

It's been a while since I last posted on here.
An article in The Guardian grabbed me today: MP demands apology after abusive tweets are traced to Wonga employee (Mike Deri Smith and Mark King).
Some details:
The MP and anti-payday loans campaigner Stella Creasy has demanded an apology from the online lender Wonga after a Guardian investigation uncovered evidence that an employee of the firm has been using an anonymous Twitter account to publicly attack her, calling her mentally unstable.
Wonga's slogan and adverts promise "straight talking money", but company computers appear to have been used to post anonymous comments on blogs critical of its practices and there is evidence that a second Wonga employee has deleted criticism from its Wikipedia page...

Fired for blogging about new job

Just heard of a story from the USA where someone who had just got a new job had the offer rescinded after posting details of the offer on his blog.

For more details see: Would you sack someone for blogging about your job offer? (HR Zone).

You may need to register with HR Zone to access this article.

Oil tanker dispute video

This is a story big in the news today.

Here the employee side of the dispute through this video produced by the UNITE trade union.

Tweeting taxi driver

The BBC News website ran an article this week about a Tweeting taxi driver in Thailand.

It would seem such activities have turned the taxi driver into a bit a local and international celebrity.

To read more and view a video see How tweeting Thai taxi driver scooped world media (by Jonah Fisher).

Facebook and the military

According to an article published last week on the BBC News website, soldiers who post photographs to Facebook may be putting themselves and their families, as well as their colleagues, at risk.

The problem concerns "geotagged" photgraphs in that military personnel may inadvertently reveal the exact location of their unit or their family.

For more details see US Army: Geotagged Facebook posts put soldiers' lives at risk.

I'm sure there may be wider lessons to learnt here for workers who use Facebook, even if the threat is not quite the same.

Police blogger sues The Times

Work-related blogs appear to have been caught up in the recent public enquiry on the newspaper industry, i.e. the illegal hacking into telephones and email accounts by journalists in the UK.

In this instance it is the owner of the NightJack blog - an anonymous work-related blog looking at police work that created a lot of media attention not that long ago.

Two stories on this matter appeared in The Guardian last week:

For police blogger NightJack, it wasn't a fair cop by Patrick Kinglsey.

NightJack blogger to sue the Times for damages by Owen Boycott.

I suppose it's a case of let's wait and see what come of it...

College staff rise up against principal

Some anonymous employees of Adam Smith College in Kirkcaldy, Fife, Scotland have taken to the Internet to vent their apparent individual and collective lack of faith in their current Principal and Board of Directors.

See the following website/blog: It's our college not Craig's.

Not sure how long the campaign has been going on for but 164 responses so far from interested parties.

Well worth a look whichever angle you would see such a difficult situation.

What happens when the company Twitter user quits?

Hopefully what is typical is not to be defined by this article recently in the Guardian:

A Twitter user is being sued for £217,000 by his former employer for taking his online followers with him when he switched jobs.

Noah Kravitz, a writer from Oakland, California, amassed 17,000 followers on the social networking site when he worked for PhoneDog, a website providing news and reviews about mobile phones.

He posted Twitter messages under the name @Phonedog_Noah, but in October 2010 he left the company, renamed his account @noahkravitz and took his following with him.

PhoneDog has launched legal proceedings seeking damages of $2.50 a month per follower for eight months, for a total of $340,000.

The company is arguing that Kravitz's list of followers constitutes a customer database and the valuation is an estimate of how much each follower is worth to the company.

The case raises questions about the value of Twitter to companies that are increasingly using the website to communicate with customers and promote their products.

Legal observers believe that if damages are awarded against Kravitz, it could set a precedent for assigning a commercial value to Twitter followers acquired in a business context.

For more details see Company sues ex-employee for his Twitter followers (by Robert Booth).

Teachers warned about use of Twitter and Facebook

Scottish teachers are being warned that their use of social networking sites could put their careers at risk.

The Scottish Secondary Teachers Association believes teachers can reveal too much personal information on sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

The union also fears they could become overly familiar with pupils.

For more details see: Teachers warned over Facebook and Twitter use (BBC News).

Grip tightening on what you can say about employers on the Internet?

According to an article from The Guardian, firms and employment tribunals are finally getting to grips with social networking, in that many companies now have a social media/blogging policy as part of their contractual terms with employees, as well as employment tribunals recently upholding a number of dismissals against employees for gross misconduct relating to blogging about work.

Game over?

Personally, I doubt it, but it will have some affect on what employees write on their Facebook or blog.

In my view this is just more evidence of employers punishing people for the problems they create in the first, i.e. employers manage people badly, the employee has few ways to complain about the employer, the employer finds out and disciplines the employee.

Britain will struggle to emerge from recession if British employers keep leaning on law makers to keep changing employment law to suit their own interests.

For more details see How your Facebook status could put you out of work by Philip Landau.

More Facebook-related misbehaviour

There are many examples of how Facebook has played a part in employee misbehaviour on this blog - see "Facebook" tag below.

A further example of how Facebook can play in employee misbehaviour/misconduct was reported today on the BBC News website.

Some details...

An investigation is under way into claims a hospital cleaner contacted a female patient on Facebook after accessing her personal records.

It is understood the mother-of-two was treated in accident and emergency at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary last week.

The woman said she was contacted by the cleaner on the social network site the following day.

Consort, the private company which employs the man, said they were treating the matter very seriously.

For more information see Cleaner 'contacted patient' on Facebook.

"Negative" work blogging can be good for employers

I've just come across a paper that suggests employee who post negative comments about their employer can lead to positive outcomes.

There is a catch of course in that the ratio of "negative" postings to more positive postings should not generally exceed 15 to 20 per cent.

For more information about this paper - Blog, Blogger, and the Firm: Can Negative Posts by Employees Lead to Positive Outcomes? by Rohit Aggarwal - click here.

Nurse sacked for misuse of Facebook

According to the BBC News website:

A nurse was dismissed from Nottingham University Hospitals Trust after posting a picture of a patient on Facebook, it has emerged.

The case was one of 29 reported breaches of patient confidentiality at the trust over the past three years.

The figures from July 2008 to July 2011 were obtained under a Freedom of Information Act request from campaign group Big Brother Watch.

The trust said it took any breach of data protection extremely seriously.

A total of eight members of staff were dismissed over the breaches.

For more details see Nottingham nurse sacked over Facebook photo.

Facebook and careers

I found an interesting article in the Telegraph just yesterday that relates to students being concerned about how using Facebook may hamper their future careers.

It is based on a YouGov survey that suggests over 40 per cent of current students have concerns in this area.

For more information see Students fear Facebook posts will hurt job prospects by Emma Barnett.

Web 2.0 and employment relations

ACAS has published a research paper on the implications of Web 2.0 technologies (e.g. Facebook, LinkedIn, blogging, etc.) for employment relations.

The paper is called Workplaces and Social Networking: The Implications for Employment Relations.

It is written by Andrea Broughton, Tom Higgins, Ben Hicks and Annette Cox of the Institute for Employment Studies.

The aim of the paper is to answer the following questions:

● How extensive is the use of social media in UK workplaces?

● What challenges and opportunities do social media present for management of employment relations?

● What does good practice in this area look like?

Click here to access the paper.

Japanese work blogger in trouble

According to the BBC News website a Japanese air traffic controller has been questioned after apparently blogging about the flight plans of the US president's plane, Air Force One.

The unnamed controller, who works at Tokyo International Airport, faces possible charges or disciplinary action.

For more details see Japan air controller 'blogged Air Force One flight plans'.

New research paper on employee blogging

I've just come across a paper published earlier this year on employee blogging.

General details can be found here.

Some details of the study (provided by Business Wire):

The authors looked at bloggers in Fortune 500 IT consulting and services companies that permitted both leisure- and work-related blogging, and studied work environments where the company prohibits leisurely blogging.

They found that when organizations put restrictions on leisure blogging, online work-related knowledge sharing decreases.

The authors believe this happens because creating social media content at work not only helps employees to educate those seeking information, but also helps them build social relationships in the workplace.

An employee can attract fellow employees to his blog with an entertaining or leisure post and, because work-related posts are on the same page, there is a spillover effect with people reading work-related articles.

The actual paper can be found here: A Structural Model of Employee Behavioral Dynamics in Enterprise Social Media by Yan Huang, Param Vir Singh and Anindya Ghose.

Employee sacked for criticising employer on Facebook

According to an article in the Daily Mail newspaper over the weekend another employee has last his job for criticising his employer on Facebook.

What appears to be an important difference to previous dismissals for this kind of behaviour is that the employer in question - Argos - was not named by the employee on his Facebook page.

There appears to be plenty of information missing in the article so it's hard to say if the employer over-reacted.

See Argos fires father with cancer after he uses Facebook to call company 'shambles' by Simon Neville for more details.

RAF blogger

According to the BBC News website:

A blog about the life of an RAF airman currently on tour in Afghanistan has notched up 80,000 hits, thanks to its blend of humour and gritty realism.

The article goes onto look at the attraction in describing war.

Click here for the article in question (by Andy McFarlane).

Click here to view the RAF Airman Blog.

What civil servants (mis)use the Internet for on work time

According to the BBC News website the other day, the Department for Transport (DfT) has disclosed the 1,000 sites visited most often by staff while at work.

Belly dancing, Doctor Who and the Roman Empire are just some of the interests of civil servants as revealed by their web browsing habits.

To see the BBC News article (by Victoria King) click here.

To see the actual report by the DfT click here.

Employer guidance on Web 2.0 use in the workplace

Employers need to provide clear guidance for staff regarding the use of social networking sites to avoid inappropriate relationships, harassment of staff and the potential for disclosure of confidential information, the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) has warned.

See Businesses warned to provide guidance on social media by Nick Martindale for more details.