Civil servant unlawfully disciplined for expressing personal views on social media.

Enigma Variations

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Civil servant should not have been disciplined over Facebook criticism of DUP and Tories, tribunal rules - BelfastTelegraph.co.uk
The fascist instincts of some people within our government institutions have received a sharp rebuke today with the news that junior civil servant, Sarah McCrossan won a case taken against the Department of Social Development which had unfairly disciplined her for expressing personal political views on Facebook.
The only mystery to me is how anyone could possibly think that it was appropriate to discipline her in the first place. Civil servants have as much right to express political opinions as anyone else, and as long they don't break any laws or incite hatred then how could anyone possibly think that it is a disciplinary issue? Surely the person who took that sinister decision should now face disciplinary action themselves?
 


Glenshane4

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Civil servant should not have been disciplined over Facebook criticism of DUP and Tories, tribunal rules - BelfastTelegraph.co.uk

Civil servants have as much right to express political opinions as anyone else, and as long they don't break any laws or incite hatred then how could anyone possibly think that it is a disciplinary issue?
People being served by civil servants have a right to expect impartiality from the civil servants. The woman should have been sacked for expressing political views. Northern Ireland is a very sensitive place. If she wants to express political views, she could seek employment elsewhere.
 

Enigma Variations

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People being served by civil servants have a right to expect impartiality from the civil servants. The woman should have been sacked for expressing political views. Northern Ireland is a very sensitive place. If she wants to express political views, she could seek employment elsewhere.
You can howl at the moon all you like. The law is on her side. :)
 

CastleRay

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Interesting case and raises a few questions.

Presumably there is a policy on expression of political views publicly by civil servants?
A junior civil servant isn't a policy influencer so is an internal policy on expressing political views relevant?
Political views expressed in a private setting is one thing but is Facebook really private?
Who is monitoring Facebook pages of junior civil servants or was this just a vindictive complaint by someone who knows what she's employed at?
At what level of civil servant is a policy on political views relevant and is there a conflict of interest in actually voting? There are some roles where civil servants can't vote I think (judiciary?) but given some parties are all about creating public sector jobs and others are for reducing them, where does the conflict start?
 

hollandia

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Interesting case and raises a few questions.

Presumably there is a policy on expression of political views publicly by civil servants?
A junior civil servant isn't a policy influencer so is an internal policy on expressing political views relevant?
Political views expressed in a private setting is one thing but is Facebook really private?
Who is monitoring Facebook pages of junior civil servants or was this just a vindictive complaint by someone who knows what she's employed at?
At what level of civil servant is a policy on political views relevant and is there a conflict of interest in actually voting? There are some roles where civil servants can't vote I think (judiciary?) but given some parties are all about creating public sector jobs and others are for reducing them, where does the conflict start?
Likely a question of expressing her views as a private person versus expressing them in her capacity as a civil service. It is quite possible to have political views and still act in a professional and impartial manner while at work. In fact, the vast majority of people do just that.
 

Irish-Rationalist

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Freedom of speech and expression on the internet has come under increasing micro scrutiny in recent years, with many of the opinion that a gratuitous suppression of freedom of speech is under way. Ms McCrossan is entitled to express her opinions in her capacity as a civil servant or an anonymous individual. She certainly didn't do herself any favours with her choice of language, which some have obviously taken exception to. As a woman of mature years she should have been capable of expressing her opinions without the use of the foul language she chose to use.
 

CastleRay

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Likely a question of expressing her views as a private person versus expressing them in her capacity as a civil service. It is quite possible to have political views and still act in a professional and impartial manner while at work. In fact, the vast majority of people do just that.
Agree, particularly as a junior civil servant she must be pretty far from the accusation. At senior level maybe that's less clear?
 

hollandia

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Agree, particularly as a junior civil servant she must be pretty far from the accusation. At senior level maybe that's less clear?
I would imagine if you are at the level of policy making/enforcing it would be problematic.
 

Enigma Variations

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Freedom of speech and expression on the internet has come under increasing micro scrutiny in recent years, with many of the opinion that a gratuitous suppression of freedom of speech is under way. Ms McCrossan is entitled to express her opinions in her capacity as a civil servant or an anonymous individual. She certainly didn't do herself any favours with her choice of language, which some have obviously taken exception to. As a woman of mature years she should have been capable of expressing her opinions without the use of the foul language she chose to use.
There is no reference to her age in the link. The accompanying photo is of a union spokeswoman.
 

GDPR

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Friends dont let friends use Twatter or Facebook. I havent used it in years but if you saw my facebook you would think that butter wouldnt melt in my mouth.
 

Irish-Rationalist

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Friends dont let friends use Twatter or Facebook. I havent used it in years but if you saw my facebook you would think that butter wouldnt melt in my mouth.
That cliche is so passe. Nowadays people should really be saying if you seen me "you wouldn't think a low fat dairy spread would melt in my mouth". People need to get with the times...
 

Roman Emperor

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...The only mystery to me is how anyone could possibly think that it was appropriate to discipline her in the first place. Civil servants have as much right to express political opinions as anyone else, and as long they don't break any laws or incite hatred then how could anyone possibly think that it is a disciplinary issue? Surely the person who took that sinister decision should now face disciplinary action themselves?
I don't know what the position is in the UK or indeed here in Ireland nowadays with regard to civil servants involving themselves in political activity.

When I joined the CS almost forty years ago I vaguely remember signing a form agreeing that I wouldn't engage in political activity.

I certainly remember in the early eighties a colleague being threatened with disciplinary action for having a political sticker affixed to a departmental motor vehicle.
 

Enigma Variations

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I don't know what the position is in the UK or indeed here in Ireland nowadays with regard to civil servants involving themselves in political activity.

When I joined the CS almost forty years ago I vaguely remember signing a form agreeing that I wouldn't engage in political activity.

I certainly remember in the early eighties a colleague being threatened with disciplinary action for having a political sticker affixed to a departmental motor vehicle.
Yes, I was aware that it was a requirement of various forms of employment that employees steered clear of politics, but it never really made sense because of the anomalies. For instance schoolteachers, also paid out of the public purse, never had that restriction placed upon them here or in the Republic or in Britain. Enda Kenny, Seamus Mallon and Sammy Wilson have all been teachers.
 

hollandia

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I don't know what the position is in the UK or indeed here in Ireland nowadays with regard to civil servants involving themselves in political activity.

When I joined the CS almost forty years ago I vaguely remember signing a form agreeing that I wouldn't engage in political activity.

I certainly remember in the early eighties a colleague being threatened with disciplinary action for having a political sticker affixed to a departmental motor vehicle.
That certainly makes sense, as it was on a departmental vehicle. Similar regulations are in force in the north in respect of political imagery in the workplace.

However, I cannot see how political activity can be banned, by virtue of just who your employer is. I can see that your employer may direct that you do not engage in political activity in your capacity as one of their employees.

Just keep it out of work.
 

vinoboy

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Interesting case and raises a few questions.

Presumably there is a policy on expression of political views publicly by civil servants?
A junior civil servant isn't a policy influencer so is an internal policy on expressing political views relevant?
Political views expressed in a private setting is one thing but is Facebook really private?
Who is monitoring Facebook pages of junior civil servants or was this just a vindictive complaint by someone who knows what she's employed at?
At what level of civil servant is a policy on political views relevant and is there a conflict of interest in actually voting? There are some roles where civil servants can't vote I think (judiciary?) but given some parties are all about creating public sector jobs and others are for reducing them, where does the conflict start?
Civil servants above a certain pay grade are in "politically restricted" posts and cannot involve themselves in party politics.
Yes ,I am all for these people to be able to express their views as a personal individual rather than a civil servant .
Does reveal a certain lack of awareness .
 

Enigma Variations

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On the topic of state fascism, it is remarkable how little attention this legislation has attracted. This is seriously draconian stuff. I'm no longer confident that attracting attention to yourself on opinion sharing sites like this is a particularly smart idea, so I for one, will probably not be as active on this site from now on.
The Investigatory Powers Act, passed on Thursday, legalises a whole range of tools for snooping and hacking by the security services unmatched by any other country in western Europe or even the US.The security agencies and police began the year braced for at least some opposition, rehearsing arguments for the debate. In the end, faced with public apathy and an opposition in disarray, the government did not have to make a single substantial concession to the privacy lobby.


US whistleblower Edward Snowden tweeted: “The UK has just legalised the most extreme surveillance in the history of western democracy. It goes further than many autocracies.”
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/nov/19/extreme-surveillance-becomes-uk-law-with-barely-a-whimper
Petition to repeal new surveillance powers reaches 100,000 signatures
 

DT123

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On the topic of state fascism, it is remarkable how little attention this legislation has attracted. This is seriously draconian stuff. I'm no longer confident that attracting attention to yourself on opinion sharing sites like this is a particularly smart idea, so I for one, will probably not be as active on this site from now on.


https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/nov/19/extreme-surveillance-becomes-uk-law-with-barely-a-whimper
Petition to repeal new surveillance powers reaches 100,000 signatures
Guilty conscience, I take it.
 

CastleRay

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On the topic of state fascism, it is remarkable how little attention this legislation has attracted. This is seriously draconian stuff. I'm no longer confident that attracting attention to yourself on opinion sharing sites like this is a particularly smart idea, so I for one, will probably not be as active on this site from now on.


https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/nov/19/extreme-surveillance-becomes-uk-law-with-barely-a-whimper
Petition to repeal new surveillance powers reaches 100,000 signatures
You're right on this. The list of organisations that have access to your online history is ridiculous. This legislation is a terrible state grab on personal freedom. I cannot understand why a Conservative government would introduce this. I'm otherwise fairly impressed by May but she's far too authoritarian on stuff like this for my liking.
 

Irish-Rationalist

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You're right on this. The list of organisations that have access to your online history is ridiculous. This legislation is a terrible state grab on personal freedom. I cannot understand why a Conservative government would introduce this. I'm otherwise fairly impressed by May but she's far too authoritarian on stuff like this for my liking.
Thanks for your false opinion. It's always important and valued.
 


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