In Pedley v IPMS Pty Ltd t/as peckvonhartel [2013] FWC 4282, the Fair Work Commission upheld the termination of the employment of interior designer, Bradford Pedley, after he sent a group email via LinkedIn to his ‘connections’ soliciting work for his own burgeoning design business, in competition with his employer, PVH. Pedley was fired by his employer, PVH, after the Linkedin email was brought to PVH’s attention by a concerned client.

Pedley’s actions were held by the Commission to be in direct breach of his employment contract in which he agreed not to undertake or be associated with any business or activity that was in competition with PVH and at all times act honestly and in a manner consistent with his employment.  Despite being previously permitted by PVH to do small private jobs on the side, the Commission considered the LinkedIn group email overstepped the mark, delving into the realm of serious misconduct as Pedley’s LinkedIn email had actively solicited his employer’s clients for his own personal gain.

Lesson: An employee’s social media activities and posting can be incompatible with duties owed to their employer and could be used as evidence to support the employee’s dismissal.