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Disreputable Republicans.

Employment and Discrimination Law

Disreputable Republicans.

Postby Hairyloon » Sun Nov 05, 2017 10:05 pm

The British Council, whose patron is the Queen, were within their rights to sack a senior worker who described Prince George as the “face of white privilege” on a Facebook post, a tribunal has ruled.

Angela Gibbins, 53, was given her marching orders after the “distasteful and personal attack” on the future King went viral last July...

In a written ruling, the judge said: “The Tribunal agrees ‘reckless lack of judgment’ which had caused disrepute is sufficient for gross misconduct.

“We concluded that it was not the expression of republican belief that was the reason for concluding that the claimant had lacked judgment and thereby brought the respondent into disrepute.

“It was that she had associated herself with a distasteful and personal attack on a small child.”...

She posted the offending comment in response to a photo placed by the band Dub Pistols, with the caption: “I know he’s only two years old, but Prince George looks like a f**king d***head.”


https://www.thelondoneconomic.com/news/ ... nal/03/11/

I've not found the actual judgment, so it is impossible to properly comment except in relation to the general principles that the case raises questions of.
As I see it, the dismissal was fair because the post created a clear link between the British Council and an offensive post.
Accepting that the offending post was appropriately offensive I am moved to wonder how clear the link would have to be for that statement to remain true.
For example, if I were to make a similar post, I think my employer would have a very thin case because hardly anyone could draw any connection between my Twitter ID and my employer.
The lady in this case puts it clearly in her profile. She does say that the posts are her personal opinion, but in this case, I can accept that that is insufficient disclaimer.
Would and should she have got away with it if she had posted under a pseudonym, or had not listed her employer in her profile?

She argued that the post was a free expression of her beliefs, but her argument failed because of the link to the other post.
If she had posted her post in isolation, then that ground would not apply and her claim might have succeeded.
There is perhaps a lesson there for some.
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Re: Disreputable Republicans.

Postby dls » Mon Nov 06, 2017 2:28 pm

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Re: Disreputable Republicans.

Postby dls » Mon Nov 06, 2017 3:08 pm

" it was not the expression of republican belief that was the reason for concluding that the claimant had lacked judgment and thereby brought the respondent into disrepute. It was that she had associated herself with a distasteful and personal attack on a small child."

She wa dismissed nt for holding republican beliefs, but for being reckless as to the reputational damage to her employers of associating herself in an uncontrollable way with a comment abusive of a three year old.
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Re: Disreputable Republicans.

Postby Hairyloon » Mon Nov 06, 2017 4:36 pm

dls wrote:http://www.bailii.org/uk/cases/UKET/2017/2200088_2017.html

Thanks.

dls wrote:" it was not the expression of republican belief that was the reason for concluding that the claimant had lacked judgment and thereby brought the respondent into disrepute. It was that she had associated herself with a distasteful and personal attack on a small child."

She was dismissed not for holding republican beliefs, but for being reckless as to the reputational damage to her employers of associating herself in an uncontrollable way with a comment abusive of a three year old.


I thought I'd said that. :?
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Re: Disreputable Republicans.

Postby Hairyloon » Mon Nov 06, 2017 7:26 pm

Hairyloon wrote:For example, if I were to make a similar post, I think my employer would have a very thin case because hardly anyone could draw any connection between my Twitter ID and my employer.
The lady in this case puts it clearly in her profile. She does say that the posts are her personal opinion, but in this case, I can accept that that is insufficient disclaimer.
Would and should she have got away with it if she had posted under a pseudonym, or had not listed her employer in her profile?


OK, my mistake. This was Facebook, not twitter. She had believed her posts, and her connection to her employer to be visible only to her friends, though that connection could be derived from some simple research.
I think she was reasonable to hold that belief and may have been misled by Facebook guidance. I think therefore that my earlier analysis was wrong and quite possibly so was the judgment.
If she was dismissed for being reckless then it seems to me that the question turns on the definition of reckless.
reckless
ˈrɛkləs/
adjective
adjective: reckless

heedless of danger or the consequences of one's actions; rash or impetuous.


The fact that an action has an undesirable consequence does not necessarily mean that the act was reckless: the sequence of events from the action to the consequence might be highly unlikely or tortuous.
Even if the consequence is reasonably foreseeable (as in this case), then that still does not indicate recklessness, if the perpetrator has taken reasonable diligence to avoid that consequence.
It seems to me that is the case here, or at least it might be: the tribunal appears to have made no effort to find out.

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The bottom line though is that she posted to 150 people, not all of whom she knew well enough to trust that much.

It does seem to me though that both the Claimant and the Respondent should sue the Sun newspaper: they both misquoted and misrepresented.
And I am more than a little concerned about the role of "Britain First" in this matter: their concerted effort of complaints (how many from 'bits?) appear significant.

It is a troubling precedent.
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Re: Disreputable Republicans.

Postby atticus » Tue Nov 07, 2017 9:26 am

This case is a reminder not to post on the internet anything that you would not want to be seen by:
- your spouse or partner
- your parents
- your children
- your employer
- your colleagues
- a journalist
- a judge

Once posted, you lose control of what you have said. This case is a clear illustration of that.
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Re: Disreputable Republicans.

Postby Hairyloon » Tue Nov 07, 2017 10:16 am

You forgot to mention the Sun newspaper and extreme right nasty squads. They are the significant factors in this case: that is why it troubles me.
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Re: Disreputable Republicans.

Postby atticus » Tue Nov 07, 2017 10:45 am

You forgot to read "journalist". You may also have not read "Once posted, you lose control of what you have said. This case is a clear illustration of that."

Feel free to add whatever you wish to the list.
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Re: Disreputable Republicans.

Postby dls » Tue Nov 07, 2017 12:57 pm

She had believed her posts, and her connection to her employer to be visible only to her friends, though that connection could be derived from some simple research.
I think she was reasonable to hold that belief and may have been misled by Facebook guidance.

The decision was made withut very substantial evidence on the point, but it remains just plain silly to think that what you post to Facebook under any controls will remain private. The judge did point out how easily such material can be disseminated. Hr belief (if such it was) was not reasonable - and for a senior civil servant to hold such a belief is to have an innocence (at best) incompatible with her position.
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Re: Disreputable Republicans.

Postby Hairyloon » Tue Nov 07, 2017 1:04 pm

Did I neglect to say that I think I cannot fault the judgment?
I think it is right, but that it ought not to be right. If it is right then that puts us under a totalitarian regime controlled by whoever has the best Twitterbots.

As I said earlier: both parties ought to sue the Sun. That could possibly make it right.
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