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Royal employee gripes on Facebook – Off with his head!

On April 25, 2011, in Social Networking, United Kingdom, by Jorge Espinosa

While beheading is not a likely punishment in this modern era, a member of the royal guard is nevertheless feeling the heat from comments he made on a social networking site.  Guardsman Cameron Reilly, a young 18 year old who joined the Scots Guards last year, has been excluded from the royal wedding ceremonies due to criticisms that he posted on Facebook.  Mr. Reilly’s ire was particularly directed at the blushing bride Kate Middleton.  Amongst the less flattering statements were a barrage of obscenities and that assessment that she was “stuck up.”

One of the problems facing employers, and in this case the British Army, is that it is not always obvious or predictable what triggers improper on-line conduct.  What caused this ire in the guardsman?  According to his post “Ms. Middleton Her and William drove past me on Friday and all I got was a sh_ty wave while she looked the opposite way from me, stupid, stuck-up cow. Am I not good enough for them! Posh b_tch. Who really gives a f_ck about her?”  Presumaby Mr. Reilly expected more personal attention.

Reilly had previously published questionable statements on Facebook  but had apparently not been disciplined.   While at a Jewish protest he posted “[h]ave got on e of the Jews in my sights now lmao. “  Lmao stands for laugh by f_ck_ng _ss off.  In another comment he described the city of London as a “Paki holding cell.”  Paki is a derrogatory term for British citizens of Pakistani origin or derivation.

We do not know if the British Army has instituted a social networking policy but, as we have previously commented on this blog, it is critical that employees know their online liability.  Not only just the employee understand what constitutes a networking site but also what they can do in commenting about work or their clients and what the consequences are for violating the policy.   Finally, having the policy is not enough — it must be strictly enforced.  This little incident will certainly bring to the forefront how military organizations deal with this growing problem.

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