Social Media Case Study

A client of ours has recently presented us with the following scenario….

A new starter, Connor, who has less than six months service, is a member of a religious group who actively creates and publishes online video content on YouTube and Facebook, with the intent to offer guidance to their audience. Connor creates and publishes videos in his personal time.

One of the videos posted by Connor contains strong homophobic content and is brought to the attention of management by another employee, Derek. Derek says that a client found the video online and complained to him. When asked, Derek would not name the client, and whilst not gay Derek said he felt unsafe working alongside Connor after watching his video.

Connor has freedom of speech and the right to post online about his beliefs, especially in his personal time and via personal social media accounts. When asked Connor did not deny posting the video in question and stated that he was quoting verses from the Bible.

We advised an investigation to establish the following… 

  • Why does Derek say that he does not feel safe at work?
  • What exactly is the content of the video?
  • How is the video being perceived as intimidating?
  • How did the video come to the attention of the client?
  • Is this a grievance from Derek?
  • Is a personal activity now becoming an issue?
  • Has Connor affiliated the business within the video?
  • How is it affecting the work environment?
  • Can Derek continue to work with Connor?
  • Have the client and Connor connected on social media?
  • Is there a Social Media Policy in the Staff Handbook?
  • Are Connors activities in breach of this Policy?
  • Is the Social Media Policy comprehensive enough?
  • Is the content of the video homophobic?
  • Is there an Equal Opportunities Policy in place?

We advised our client to… 

Treat Derek’s complaint as a grievance. There is a duty of care to ensure that all employees feel safe at work. Derek did not want to disclose his source of information, which frustrated the investigation.

It was confirmed to Derek that Connor is entitled to freedom of speech and unless a direct link between the video and the company is found there is not much that can be done, despite the fact Derek disapproved of the content. In addition, it is a reminder that Equal Opportunities and Social Media Policies are a vital component of the Staff Handbook.

Connor was invited to an investigatory meeting to discuss this, and he was made aware that his videos could be perceived as offensive by other individuals and that such opinions cannot be expressed in the workplace.

Connor openly accepted that he had created the videos, to validate his religious conviction however on reflection he understood that others may not share his views and volunteered to take the videos down. This was done with immediate effect.

Furthermore he was asked to ensure his accounts are set to private and that there are no links between his accounts and the business.

If any of the above sounds familiar please call AHR Consultants on 0345 076 2288 to ensure that the actions you take protect you and the business.

Whilst the scenario above is uncommon it is a perfect example of personal and professional life merging.

Our client has given consent for us to use this case study. The scenario is real, the names are not. All names have been changed to protect the employees and the business.

World Mental Health Day 2017

The theme this year is workplace wellbeing. This means that employees and employers can get involved in supporting themselves, colleges and employees in the workplace.

Mind have released a series of videos to give more information and to also support in workplace wellbeing:

Take a deep breath 

Learning to breathe more deeply can make you feel a lot calmer and increase your sense of wellbeing. Take five minutes to try out this simple breathing exercise. Once you’ve got the hang of it you can use this technique anywhere – at work, at home or on the bus or tube – anytime you feel your stress level rising or need a moment of calm.


One third of fit notes (aka sick notes) in the UK are now for mental health. An investigation across the NHS found that five million employees are signed off worked each year, 31% of which is for mental health.











Business in the Community, published the results of a recent survey that focused on mental health in the workplace. This report highlighted some worrying statistics from the workplace, mainly that 15% faced disciplinary proceedings as a result of speaking to their manager or HR department about their mental health.









What can employers do? 

  • Promote positive mental health in the workplace
  • Learn how to manage staff experiencing metal ill health
  • Help employees dealing with stress in the work place
  • Manage anxiety in the workplace

There is also much more that employers can do, including training their managers to recognise and understand mental health issues.

Please speak with AHR Consultants if you are worried about one of your employees or would like to talk about steps you can make to ensure your business is a supportive and reactive environment for your employees.

Please call 0345 076 2288

What is a ‘Duvet Day’?

Duvet DayNoun – An unscheduled extra day’s leave from work, sanctioned by one’s employer. Oxford Dictionary 

History of the duvet day 

It is said that duvet days originated in the UK in 1997. August One Communications introduced the scheme that allowed employees time off that was not pre-planned or sickness. The idea behind duvet days was to reduce the number of sick days that were taken, specifically the days when an employee is ‘pulling a sickie’.

Benefits of the duvet day 

Introducing duvet days can ensure that employees feel that they are being treated with respect, and as a result become more productive in the workplace. The scheme also allows employees to avoid lying to their employers, specifically on days where they are not in the right frame of mind to work. Promoting honesty in the workplace and not lying about being ‘sick’.

Drawbacks of the duvet day 

Could idleness be encouraged, and also a lack of responsibility for overindulgence the night before become the norm in the workplace? If the duvet day does not offer any additional perks to retain staff, then perhaps it isn’t right for your company.

Adding duvet days to your business 

To add duvet days to your business you need to think of how you will make it work and also the steps you need to take to implement it. Below is a checklist of things you need to think about:

  1. Implementing a Duvet Day Policy – new and existing employees
  2. Number of days (majority of employers offer two per year)
  3. Time of year days can be taken
  4. Days of the week that can be taken

Duvet days vs mental health days 

Earlier this year an employee was praised by her employer for taking a ‘mental health’ day. (Read about this story here)

But what is the difference between a mental health day and a duvet day?

A duvet day in essence is a day that is taken when you are not sick but would like a day to rest and recharge yourself. Mental health days are a sick day and employers are encouraged to treat time of work because of mental health the same as days taken off for physical health problems.

While it may be easier for an employee to take a duvet day or say they have food poising to avoid having a conversation about mental health, all employees should be encouraged to talk to their employer to allow for potential reasonable adjustments.

Sickness Absence Management                                                           

Having an employee call in sick is frustrating but inevitable as employees will have sickness at some time and be unable to attend the work place. Stress as a reason for sickness is difficult to manage and it is on the increase, sick notes being extended and long-term sickness situations can be frustrating to manage. Frustration can come from feeling there is nothing that you can do about this, but there is.

Sickness absence management is a training course offered by AHR Consultants that gives managers the confidence to firmly manage absence; short and long-term. To speak with us about this course please complete a training enquiry form, here.

AHR Consultants 

If you have any questions regarding your policies, sickness or mental health days please call us on 0345 076 2288 to speak to one of our consultants.