HR professional cuts link with employer after LinkedIn dispute

Employer disciplined employee for breaching policy prohibiting checking of box on profile indicating interest in other jobs
|Canadian Employment Law Today|Last Updated: 04/26/2012

An HR professional in the United Kingdom is claiming his employer forced him to quit after his online profile indicated he may be looking for other work.

John Flexman, 34, was a global resourcing and development manager for gas company BG Group. He set up a profile on the business networking Internet site LinkedIn and uploaded his resume. He then checked a box on the profile that indicated he was “interested in other career opportunities.”

A short time later, his manager told him to take the resume off the website and remove any reference to BG Group except for his job titles and dates. Flexman was also told there would be a disciplinary hearing over “inappropriate use of social media.” The company said it had a new policy that banned employees from checking the other career opportunities box on LinkedIn. Flexman was given a list of charges and told he might be fired for misconduct, after which he quit.

Flexman filed a claim for constructive dismissal, arguing the information about BG Group that he had on the site was available in its annual reports. He also claimed 21 other BG Group employees had checked the other career opportunities box and weren’t disciplined.

The case is being heard by an employment tribunal in Reading and could the first constructive dismissal claim in the U.K. over information an employee posted on LinkedIn.

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