Work Time: You, Social Media & Your Mobile Phone

Swansea’s giant DVLA (Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency) licensing centre has sacked a worker after he was caught using Facebook on his personal phone.

Senior managers at the Morriston centre took the action after it emerged the staff member was accessing the social networking site during office hours at the DVLA last year.

The agency has previously dismissed three members of staff for making what it called “inappropriate comments” about the DVLA, a colleague or customers, on social media.

But the firing of the male employee appears to be the first time the licensing centre has taken such action against a worker using social media without suggestions his behaviour could discredit the agency or co-workers.

A statement from the DVLA said: “DVLA staff cannot access any social networking sites on DVLA computers.

“Although instances of staff using social media inappropriately are extremely rare, any incidents of staff using social media at work on their personal phones are always investigated and could result in disciplinary action.

“All staff are aware of the current guidance in place and are reminded of the rules on a regular basis.”

Earlier this year, seven staff at the DVLA were suspended for “inappropriate” comments or jokes made on Facebook.

The DVLA maintains a ban on all staff accessing social networking websites on their computers during working time.

But Steven George-Hilley, director of technology at the think-tank Parliament Street, which obtained the information from the DVLA said: “Sacking staff for using Facebook at work demonstrates a draconian approach to social media.

“Instead, employers should be embracing digital channels and encouraging staff to use social networking sites to deliver faster, more interactive services to customers.”

The employee dismissed last year was said to have used Facebook on his own phone in the agency’s contact centre.

The DVLA said this formed part of “a list of conduct issues” and was not the only reason for dismissal.

A second DVLA worker was issued with a written warning for making an “inappropriate“ comment about the DVLA on social networking site Twitter.

Source: Turner, R. (2013) Worker Sacked by DVLA in Swansea for using Facebook on Phone. Available from World Wide Web: <> [Accessed: 30 May, 0213].


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