Our sacked CEO still says he’s employed by us on his social media accounts. Help!

Dearest Aunty B
Long-time reader, first time asker of questions. I am hoping you can give us (and potentially other employers out there), some clarity.

We have recently had to dismiss our CEO, and have undertaken to have references to this person removed from any of our social media publications such as Facebook.
What we have found however is that the ex-employee’s Facebook and Linkedin profiles still show that they are a current employee of our organisation.
Do we have a leg to stand on in requesting that this information be changed immediately by the ex-employee, as we consider it is now a misrepresentation of their employment status?  This person is an active social media user, so I don’t believe that it’s just an oversight on their behalf. But hey, I bet it still looks good to prospective employers.
What are our legal rights in this regard?
Hoping you can help, as I am sure that we are not the first employer (nor the last) to be in this situation.
Kind Regards

[And please make sure it’s anonymous – I am sure this person occasionally reads your page!]
Hi Kind Regards,

What an interesting question. My first response is: Who cares? Yes, it is an irritant but people by nature can be irritating. And the hallmark of a sensible person is to note the irritation, shrug it off and get on with things. I mean, what is the real harm in this? If it is easier for them to get a job because it still looks like they are employed, then the quicker they move on out of your life.

However, if you insist on being irritated I have asked our great legal adviser Peter Vitale for his thoughts.

He says the former employee is probably in breach of Linked-In’s user agreement (see clause 10)

Unfortunately that agreement is between him and Linked-In, so you will have to complain to Linked-In about that.  Good luck.

Facebook terms are a bit more vague, but maybe you could complain to them.

If it’s really causing you a problem, you may have claim for misleading and deceptive conduct or for making a false representation under the Australian Consumer Law (formerly known as the Trade Practices Act).  You have to be able to show that his conduct is “in trade or commerce”, which might in itself be an interesting academic argument.

Write (or get your lawyers to write) to him/her a nasty letter complaining and if that doesn’t work, sue. 

I guess you might always find a legitimate way to post corrective statements on yours and his/her Facebook and Linked-In profiles.

Good luck!

Your Aunty B


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