An analysis of the Labour Relations Act 66 of 1995 as it relates to derogatory comments posted by employees on social media.
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With the rise of the digital age, social media has become a tool for communication in the modern world. The law on social media in South Africa is underdeveloped and there is an absence of current legislation that specifically deals with social media. Employees are often under the impression that they are permitted to say anything they desire on social media platforms without consequence. Problems arise when employees take to social media to vent their frustrations about work and post derogatory comments about their employer(s). In the absence of legislation specifically regulating the use of social media, an employer will often rely on the Labour Relations Act 66 of 1995 in order to dismiss an employee for misconduct of the kind mentioned above. Employees for their part will often cite constitutional rights such as the right to freedom of expression and the right to privacy as defences against being unfairly dismissed for their social media posts. This study aims to determine whether or not the Labour Relations Act 66 of 1995 is still fit for purpose in view of the rapid and exponential rise of social media during recent years. The main focus of this study is on the dismissal of employees for posting derogatory comments about their employees on social media and seeks to determine whether or not South African Labour Legislation has adequately kept pace in this area.