Workers’ tweets could spell trouble for employer

Policy, training can reduce liability
By Amanda Silliker
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 06/05/2011

Damian Goddard was fired from his position as host of Rogers Sportsnet in early May after comments he made on his Twitter account. He tweeted in support of hockey agent Todd Reynolds who said an NHL player’s decision to film a commercial in support of gay marriage was “very sad” and “wrong.”

Goddard said he “wholeheartedly” supported Reynolds and his stance on the “traditional and true meaning of marriage.”

While Goddard paid the price in this situation, if the post had been defamatory and the recipient wanted to take action, the employer could have potentially been on the hook for damages. If an employee posts a defamatory comment online while at work or from a work asset, such as a laptop or smartphone, the employer can face liability, said Michael Smith, a partner at Borden Ladner Gervais law firm in Toronto.