According to a recent ruling, Australia’s Fair Work Commission (FWC) found that unfriending someone on Facebook can be akin to bullying them.
The tribunal dealt with the case of a woman named Rachael Roberts, an employee at a real estate agency. The properties she represented were not displayed in the front window of the office, she did not receive handouts that the other agents received and the wife of the agency’s principal, Lisa Bird, would ignore her in the hallway instead of saying hello. However, none of those alleged incidents were the breaking point for Roberts. That came after Bird unfriended Roberts on Facebook after a tense encounter.
According to reports, Roberts notified James Bird—an agency principal and husband of Lisa—that her properties were not being fairly represented. Lisa Bird retaliated by calling a meeting and humiliating Roberts, calling her a “naughty little school girl running to the teacher.” Shortly after that, Bird unfriended Roberts. The FWC said that this action showed a “lack of emotional maturity” and was “indicative of unreasonable behavior.”
While it may seem ridiculous to consider this bullying, actions like that take on a different connotation when they occur between supervisor and employee. Sometimes, it’s a good idea to keep your bosses and co-workers at arms-length on Facebook.
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