Twitter – Reputational Damage for Businesses

Tuesday, 12 July 2016 10:02

Social media is an important part of businesses getting their message(s) across to their customers and/or clients, and raising its profile.

The use of inappropriate tweets by a business can, however, backfire and cause significant damage:-

A law firm known as Baker Small had developed a practice in advising local authorities in representing them at Special Educational Needs Tribunals. The law firm had on its books approximately 20 local authorities and had signed retainer agreements involved hundreds of thousands of pounds for legal advice.

Recently, the practices of the Managing Director and sole partner, Mark Small, posted a number of tweets about cases that his firm had been involved in. He presented the tweets as significant victories on behalf of his clients.

His firm’s opponents were the parents of very vulnerable children seeking educational assistance from their respective local authorities.

Mr Small’s tweets were noted by a number of these parents and the tweets went “viral”. The tweets presented the firm as gloating over the results that it had achieved in the Tribunals.

The result of these unfortunate tweets led many local authorities to either suspend, or remove, their contracts from Baker Small which is likely to cause it significant loss of fee income. The damage to its reputation has been significant.

Normally, one would advise in relation to reputational damage that the employer should have a robust social media policy and that tweets, blogs, posts or other media content should be reviewed prior to being posted publicly.

This case is unfortunate in that the tweets emanated from the owner of the business itself, and a social media policy may therefore have not been effective!

If you would like to discuss any employment law issues, please contact our Employment Law specialist team.

Author: Gareth Price Email:

 

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