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How Belfast worker lost job over selfie Snapchat posts

Ex-employee loses unfair dismissal case

By Jane Fletcher

A worker at a security cash-in-transit firm who ignored tiger kidnap warnings by taking and posting 'selfies' from a restricted area at work has lost an unfair dismissal claim.

East Belfast based firm RMS Cash Solutions sacked secure area operator Jamie Elliott after a series of reckless Snapchat posts, a tribunal was told.

In one string of posts, Elliott named a Polish co-worker and gave other details about him which put his safety at risk.

Elliott joined cash transit firm RMS - which also has offices in Slough and Dublin - in May 2016 and was sacked in March 2018 for gross misconduct after an internal inquiry into his social media posts.

He claimed he'd just been "acting the big lad", admitted he had been guilty of misconduct but claimed he should have got a final written warning rather than being sacked.

The tribunal disagreed saying: "The claimant's conduct amounted to gross misconduct and warranted summary dismissal in all the circumstances."

It added: "(He) accepted he was given tiger kidnap training and accepted in cross-examination that the area within he worked contained very clear notices on boards indicating 'no photography beyond this point' together with signs prohibiting photography and signs stating 'Do not use mobile phones' in the area in which the claimant had taken the Snapchat 'selfies'."

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The company's security manager said he worked with the Organised Crime Task Force which highlighted that criminals identify persons of interest through social media. He added that criminals specifically target staff members of cash centres and financial institutions by holding their family hostage.

He said Elliott had twice received training concerning the risks of tiger kidna pping which included use of social media.

The tribunal heard Elliott took a series of photos in a secure area of the firm in January 2018.

"(Jamie Elliott) is clearly visible in each photograph and the company logo was visible in at least one photograph," said the tribunal panel.

In one of the posts Elliott wrote: "We've a Polish temp working today; lovely fella from (redacted) called (redacted)."

Eillott went on to give his position and work days before adding: "I've brought him down to my level of doing f--- all in work. I do f--- all in work."

At an internal inquiry, a senior RMS executive said: "You can see the RMS logo, you name another member of staff, you can see the tiger kidnapping posters in the background which are in the toilets."

Elliott replied: "I grossly apologise for that and please pass on my apologies to him...I was acting the big lad with what I believed was a close group of friends."

The tribunal said Elliott's case was that while he fully accepted he had been guilty of misconduct, others were treated more leniently. But it said he had failed to identify any employees who had committed similar acts of misconduct including putting at risk the safety of another employee.

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