When Conduct Outside of Work can Land you in Trouble

When Conduct Outside of Work can Land you in Trouble

Coronation Street actor Chris Fountain 25 has been dismissed for appearing in an offensive online rap video. Mr Fountain who plays the Coronation Street character Tommy Duckworth was seen rapping about rape and violence in a YouTube video. Despite apologising to his bosses at ITV he was suspended whilst ITV investigated the matter further and made enquires. When the videos were first uploaded to the website an ITV spokesman remarked that “ITV finds the language used and the views expressed in this video totally unacceptable”.
ITV later confirmed their decision to dismiss Mr Fountain stating"Chris Fountain’s contract with ITV has been terminated as a result of the unacceptable comments he made in a number of online clips". Mr Fountain when attempting to explain his actions commented that the remarks were"blurted out in a moment of madness" and confirmed that he has accepted that his bosses had"no choice" but to terminate his contract.
From an employment law perspective ITV’s decision to dismiss Chris Fountain serves as an important reminder to all employees that unreasonable conduct outside of work can be considered as gross misconduct if the acts are capable of damaging the company’s reputation or integrity.
ITV’s decision also acts as a warning to all employees that they need to be aware of the limitations imposed on them by their employers outside of work hours and to fully read their employer’s policies and procedures. A further example of this is in the case of Gosden v Lifeline Project Limited. In this case the employer particularised misconduct in its disciplinary policy as including"bringing the organisation into disrepute outside working hours". Mr Gosden sent an offensive e-mail from his home computer to another employee’s home computer outside of work and was later dismissed for gross misconduct. The Employment Tribunal held that the employer’s decision to dismiss Mr Gosden was within the range of reasonable responses and the dismissal was held as fair.
If you believe that you have been unfairly dismissed either due to alleged misconduct outside of work or for any other reason then please contact our team of specialist employment lawyers at Michael Lewin Solicitors who will be able to assist you.
Written by Jennifer Fagin

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