Employee caught on Facebook at home during sick day fired

Employee said she needed to stay at home in the dark away from computer screen but co-worker found her online
|Canadian Employment Law Today|Last Updated: 05/12/2009

Some employers have policies that prohibit employees from using social networking websites like Facebook at the workplace. However, a woman in Switzerland discovered she could still get in trouble with her employer by accessing Facebook at home.

The woman, who worked for an insurance company in Zurich, Switzerland, called in sick one day in November 2008. Though part of her job involved working on a computer, she said she couldn’t work at home because she was supposed to lie in the dark to get better. Sitting in front of a lighted computer screen wouldn’t cut it.

However, later in the day, one of the woman’s co-workers went on Facebook and discovered she was online and chatting on the site. The news spread around the office and soon the woman’s supervisors found out.

The company contacted her and told her it had caught her in a lie and could no longer trust her. She was fired for dishonesty.

The woman said she had accessed Facebook with her cellphone while lying in bed, which was different from looking at a full-size computer screen. She also claimed the company sent a false friend request to her so it could pry into her activities through her profile. However, the company said it only knew of her presence on the site because of her co-worker’s discovery.

Shortly after the firing, the company banned its employees from accessing Facebook while at work during office hours.

Add Comment

  • *
  • *
  • *
  • *