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Arbetstagares yttrandefrihet och kritikrätt vid användning av sociala medier

Samuelsson, Sofia LU (2011) JURM01 20111
Department of Law
Abstract (Swedish)
I denna uppsats undersöks rättsläget för arbetstagares yttrandefrihet och gränserna för kritikrätten vid användning av sociala medier såsom Facebook och bloggar. Arbetstagaren har en plikt att vara lojal gentemot sin arbetsgivare. Lojalitetsplikten utgör en samlingsbeteckning för en rad olika förpliktelser, t.ex. tystnadsplikten och den närliggande skyldigheten att iaktta begränsning i kritikrätten avseende arbetsgivaren, företrädare för arbetsgivaren och förhållandena på arbetsplatsen.

Såsom lojalitetsplikten kommit att preciseras i Arbetsdomstolens rättspraxis innebär denna att arbetstagaren är skyldig att sätta arbetsgivarens intresse framför sitt eget och undvika lägen där han eller hon kan komma i pliktkollision med arbetsgivaren.... (More)
I denna uppsats undersöks rättsläget för arbetstagares yttrandefrihet och gränserna för kritikrätten vid användning av sociala medier såsom Facebook och bloggar. Arbetstagaren har en plikt att vara lojal gentemot sin arbetsgivare. Lojalitetsplikten utgör en samlingsbeteckning för en rad olika förpliktelser, t.ex. tystnadsplikten och den närliggande skyldigheten att iaktta begränsning i kritikrätten avseende arbetsgivaren, företrädare för arbetsgivaren och förhållandena på arbetsplatsen.

Såsom lojalitetsplikten kommit att preciseras i Arbetsdomstolens rättspraxis innebär denna att arbetstagaren är skyldig att sätta arbetsgivarens intresse framför sitt eget och undvika lägen där han eller hon kan komma i pliktkollision med arbetsgivaren. Arbetstagare får heller inte vidta åtgärder som är ägnade att skada eller på annat sätt försvåra för arbetsgivaren. Eftersom lojalitetsplikten kan gälla även utanför arbetstid får arbetstagaren inte heller på sin fritid göra yttranden på Facebook eller i bloggar som är ägnade att medföra skada för arbetsgivaren.

Avseende arbetstagares utrymme att kritisera arbetsgivaren följer av rättspraxis att utgångspunkten är att arbetstagaren måste anses ha en vidsträckt rätt att kritisera och ifrågasätta arbetsgivarens handlande utan att detta anses utgöra ett illojalt agerande. Detta anses även korrespondera med den grundlagsstadgade yttrandefriheten som tillkommer offentligt anställda. Med bakgrund av att yttrandefriheten i princip gäller framför lojalitetsprincipen, tillåts offentligt anställda i betydande omfattning diskutera och kritisera förhållandena på sina arbetsplatser. Annorlunda förhåller det sig för privat anställda som inte omfattas av lagregleringens skydd. Arbetsdomstolen har emellertid slagit fast att privat anställda tillerkänns en medborgerlig yttrandefrihet. Domstolen har dock ännu inte klargjort hur långtgående denna frihet är. Europadomstolens praxis visar också att Sverige har en positiv skyldighet att se till att privat anställdas yttrandefrihet skyddas mot angrepp ”i vissa fall”.

När Arbetsdomstolen avgör i vilken utsträckning arbetstagaren får kritisera arbetsgivaren utan att det utgör saklig grund för uppsägning tar domstolen hänsyn till en rad olika omständigheter. Enligt min bedömning har användningen av sociala medier inte medfört något principiellt nytt i sig, annat än att den underlättat för en snabbare spridning av information. Det kan dock diskuteras om inte användningen av sociala medier kan komma att påverka Arbetsdomstolens bedömningsgrunder i vissa avseenden. Exempelvis kan det diskuteras om arbetstagares kritik eller andra åsiktsyttranden som görs om arbetsgivaren på Facebook eller i bloggar någonsin kan anses göras i syfte att komma tillrätta med missförhållanden på arbetsplatsen. (Less)
Abstract
In this thesis the employees’ freedom of expression and right to criticize the employer when using social media such as Facebook and blogs is examined. The employee has an obligation to be loyal to his or her employer. The concept of loyalty covers many different obligations, for example the duty to respect confidentiality and the closely related duty to not criticize the employer, the employer’s representatives, or the workplace, beyond certain limits.

According to case law by the Labour Court the obligation to be loyal is to be understood as a duty for the employee to put the interest of the employer ahead of his or her own personal interest and to avoid situations where there is a collision of interests. The employee must refrain... (More)
In this thesis the employees’ freedom of expression and right to criticize the employer when using social media such as Facebook and blogs is examined. The employee has an obligation to be loyal to his or her employer. The concept of loyalty covers many different obligations, for example the duty to respect confidentiality and the closely related duty to not criticize the employer, the employer’s representatives, or the workplace, beyond certain limits.

According to case law by the Labour Court the obligation to be loyal is to be understood as a duty for the employee to put the interest of the employer ahead of his or her own personal interest and to avoid situations where there is a collision of interests. The employee must refrain from causing the employer harm, or in other ways creating difficulties for the employer. Since the obligation to be loyal can stretch over time outside working hours, an employee is not allowed to, in his or her leisure time, express opinions on Facebook or in blogs with the purpose of causing the employer harm.

In regards to the extent of the right to criticize the employer, case law states that the point of departure must be that the employee has a far-reaching right to criticize and question the employer’s actions without this being regarded as a disloyal act. This corresponds with the constitutionally protected freedom of expression which covers employees employed in the public sector. Since freedom of expression in principle overrides the duty to be loyal, public employees enjoy a far-reaching possibility to discuss and criticize their workplaces. This differs from employees employed in the private sector of the labour market, who are not covered by the statutory protection. However, the Labour Court has concluded that private employees have a civic freedom of expression. The Court has yet to clarify how far-reaching this freedom is. According to case law from the European Court of Human Rights, Sweden has a positive obligation to ensure right to freedom of expression for private employees in ”some cases”.

When the Labour Court determines to what extent the employee can criticize the employer without this being just cause for dismissal, several factors are of importance. In my view, the usage of social media has not entailed anything new in principle, other than having provided with an easier and faster way of spreading information. However, it can be discussed if the usage of social media may affect the Labour Court’s assessment in some aspects. For instance it can be questioned if criticizing or otherwise expressing one’s opinion about the employer on Facebook or in blogs can ever really be said to be done with the purpose of improving the working conditions in the workplace. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
Samuelsson, Sofia LU
supervisor
organization
alternative title
Employees' freedom of expression and right to criticize the employer when using social media
course
JURM01 20111
year
type
H3 - Professional qualifications (4 Years - )
subject
keywords
arbetsrätt
language
Swedish
id
1969965
date added to LUP
2011-05-26 15:29:50
date last changed
2011-05-26 15:29:50
@misc{1969965,
  abstract     = {In this thesis the employees’ freedom of expression and right to criticize the employer when using social media such as Facebook and blogs is examined. The employee has an obligation to be loyal to his or her employer. The concept of loyalty covers many different obligations, for example the duty to respect confidentiality and the closely related duty to not criticize the employer, the employer’s representatives, or the workplace, beyond certain limits.

According to case law by the Labour Court the obligation to be loyal is to be understood as a duty for the employee to put the interest of the employer ahead of his or her own personal interest and to avoid situations where there is a collision of interests. The employee must refrain from causing the employer harm, or in other ways creating difficulties for the employer. Since the obligation to be loyal can stretch over time outside working hours, an employee is not allowed to, in his or her leisure time, express opinions on Facebook or in blogs with the purpose of causing the employer harm.

In regards to the extent of the right to criticize the employer, case law states that the point of departure must be that the employee has a far-reaching right to criticize and question the employer’s actions without this being regarded as a disloyal act. This corresponds with the constitutionally protected freedom of expression which covers employees employed in the public sector. Since freedom of expression in principle overrides the duty to be loyal, public employees enjoy a far-reaching possibility to discuss and criticize their workplaces. This differs from employees employed in the private sector of the labour market, who are not covered by the statutory protection. However, the Labour Court has concluded that private employees have a civic freedom of expression. The Court has yet to clarify how far-reaching this freedom is. According to case law from the European Court of Human Rights, Sweden has a positive obligation to ensure right to freedom of expression for private employees in ”some cases”.

When the Labour Court determines to what extent the employee can criticize the employer without this being just cause for dismissal, several factors are of importance. In my view, the usage of social media has not entailed anything new in principle, other than having provided with an easier and faster way of spreading information. However, it can be discussed if the usage of social media may affect the Labour Court’s assessment in some aspects. For instance it can be questioned if criticizing or otherwise expressing one’s opinion about the employer on Facebook or in blogs can ever really be said to be done with the purpose of improving the working conditions in the workplace.},
  author       = {Samuelsson, Sofia},
  keyword      = {arbetsrätt},
  language     = {swe},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Arbetstagares yttrandefrihet och kritikrätt vid användning av sociala medier},
  year         = {2011},
}