An East London retail chain employee claims she was unfairly fired from the job she had held for 10 years, after she posted two “harmless” apartheid-era signs on her Facebook page.
Chwayita Fefeza, 38, of Mdantsane, posted the messages after the DA won Nelson Mandela Bay in last year’s municipal elections.
She was dismissed from her job at Game as a result.
The mother of two argued that she used Facebook in her personal capacity.
“I think it is unfair because it was not work-related and was something I shared in my personal capacity,” Fefeza said.
“I am stressed about my future because I am unemployed and I have to provide for my two young daughters, which I am now unable to do.”
Her dismissal came on December 23, four months after she made the post.
“Ten years’ loyalty at Game and I didn’t even receive a warning as a firsttime offender. It was just straight dismissal,” Fefeza said.
Social media law consultant Emma Sadlier said an increasing number of people were falling victim to posting offensive content on social networks.
There was no such thing as acting in a personal capacity, she said.
“This is a very common thing in South Africa. Users break the code of conduct by bringing the company they work for into disrepute, while claiming to act in their personal capacity,” Sadlier said.
“It does not matter if it is a personal account – you still represent the company you work for.”
The first post uploaded by Fefeza on August 6 read: “The divicional [sic] council of the Cape – This area is for Whites only.”
Her second post, in which she tagged 13 friends, was uploaded the same day. It showed a sign on the roof of a taxi which read: “Taxi Whites Only”.
“Users should consider the post going up on a billboard, alongside a busy road, with your face, your company’s name and your name attached,” Sadlier said.
“If what you are about to post will bring harm to any of those things, then don’t,” she said.
Game spokeswoman Tinabo MajayeKhupe said: “It is a condition of employment that staff maintain the highest ethical standard. This is included in employees’ contracts of employment.
“In light of the postings made by the employee, a properly constituted disciplinary inquiry was held, the employee was represented and had an opportunity to state her case,” Majaye-Khupe said.
“She was found guilty and subsequently dismissed.”