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Comment: The dangers of social media

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  1. I don’t understand “an equality too far”. How can anything be too equal? His original penalty might have been harsh but he’s a bigot nonetheless.

    1. Possibly – he describes himself as a “full-on charismatic Christian”, after all. Nevertheless, he was referring to weddings within an organisation that’s not known for its compliance with equality legislation in the first place, and even I think he should have been allowed to do so, especially since he also stated that he has no objection to civil SSM.

  2. Presumably anyone in that organisation can now tweet all they like about homophobic anti-same sex marriage christian bigots and get away with it.

    1. de Villiers 29 Nov 2012, 12:45pm

      I don’t think that is right.

      1. Tim Hopkins 29 Nov 2012, 3:12pm

        De Villiers is correct. The judge said that Mr Smith’s comments, that he disagreed with churches doing same-sex marriage, but agreed with civil SSM, “are not, viewed objectively, judgemental, disrespectful, or liable to cause upset or offence”. If Mr Smith had posted anti-gay material which the judge believed crossed those lines (perhaps for example that gay people are disordered or perverted), the outcome might well have been different. Certainly, the judge made clear in his judgment that you CAN lawfully be sacked for posting material on your personal facebook page that offends colleagues, if you cross the line – although he didn’t set out exactly where that line is!

  3. If he had made this comment during his working hours, at his place of work and in the presence of colleagues and clients, then — due to his contractual obligations — it would seem be fair to assume that his employers would want to speak with him about it.

    But, anything written or said by a human being outside his work space / working hours, surely must his / her private opinion? Employers do not own a person. They cannot, normally, expect to control an employee outside the working environment. Workers are not slaves — allegedly.

    If some of his colleagues are also his personal friends on a social networking site, then if they don’t like what he has to say outside work – just defriend him. Simple.

    We seem to be hurtling towards a form of fascism which is very frightening… The state, employers, the easily offended are seeking to control and silence anyone that does not subscribe to the ‘spirit of the age’. I believe that such control-freakery is, or can be, very dangerous.

    1. Tim Hopkins 29 Nov 2012, 3:18pm

      It’s true that the judge drew a clear distinction between things said at work and things said on one’s personal fb page. The reason Mr Smith won his case was a combination of two things: what he posted was quite mild and not particularly offensive, and, he posted it on his personal facebook page, which although 45 work colleagues are his fb friends, was not the same as saying it at work.

      The judgment indicates that you CAN lawfully be sacked for things said on your personal fb page though, especially if work colleagues are fb friends. For example, the judge said, if you use your fb page to “pass judgement on the morality of a named work colleague”.

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