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Determining current judicial trends in defining parameters of privacy at the workplace in relation to social media use by employees - An Australian context

Thinakaran, Ajantha (2018) Determining current judicial trends in defining parameters of privacy at the workplace in relation to social media use by employees - An Australian context. Masters by Research thesis, Murdoch University.

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Abstract

The legal issues that relate to the realm of privacy, social media communication and technology are ever growing. In Australia, over the past five years or so, there have been a series of dismissals resulting from the use of personal social media communications by employees. One area of dismissals is employers terminating employees for complaining about their colleagues in the employee’s personal social media space. Another example is employees discussing workplace processes and procedures in the employee’s personal social media space leading to alleged disclosures of confidential information.

Several questions concern these dismissals. These include determining how courts view individual employees’ personal social media sites, either as a private space or a public space. This appears to provide a basis for how courts view employer regulation of employees’ social media interaction, regardless of whether such interaction relates directly, or is incidental, to workplace activities. When employer control is permitted, judicial decisions are also relevant in understanding the extent to which courts may permit employers to exercise such control.

As this area is still new, much of the body of cases referred to lie in Fair Work Commission decisions. The above is researched under the overarching theme of identifying current judicial trends in determining parameters of privacy in the workplace in relation to social media use by employees. Judicial determination of these issues is important, as legislation still lags behind the massive and rapid technological advances in social media communication. In Australia, the courts are still the primary influencers and protectors of privacy as a human right. Judicial clarification of privacy, employer control over employees and employee dismissals within the existing workplace legislation is important for both employers and employees alike.

Publication Type: Thesis (Masters by Research)
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Law
Supervisor: Shaw, Steve, Brohmer, Jurgen and Brown, Murray
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/41360
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