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Apple was within rights to sack employee over Facebook rant

Apple was within its rights to fire a British employee who ranted about the company on Facebook, a tribunal has ruled.

Apple was within its rights to fire a British employee who ranted about the company on Facebook, a tribunal has ruled.

The employment tribunal decided that Apple was within its rights to dismiss Apple Store employee Samuel Crisp, because his updates weren't private enough. Fair or harsh?

Crisp, a Genius at a Norwich Apple Store, posted various angry updates about his iPhone, dodgy apps and other aspects of Apple. He also spoofed the arrival of the Beatles on iTunes, heralded with the tagline 'Tomorrow is another day. That you'll never forget', saying, "Tomorrow's just another day that hopefully I will forget." Ah, we see what he did there! He was shopped to the company by a fellow employee and Facebook friend. Clearly, not all friends are friendly.

Crisp's Facebook profile was set to private, but the tribunal upheld Apple's decision because the remarks breached the company's social media policy banning negative remarks, which all employees must agree to. The panel added that other Facebookers could have forwarded the comments.

That strikes us as harsh: you can't account for what other people do, after all. Still, a dissenting voice inside Apple or any company is newsworthy -- like the Google engineer who ranted about Google Plus -- so it's no wonder Apple wasn't happy about the possibility of Crisp's negative remarks becoming public knowledge.

Apple is notorious for its protectiveness about its brand, wrapping the company and its products in a cloak of secrecy that only makes us more interested in what's going on in there. By contrast with the Apple case, Google happily let that ranting engineer get on with it, although he did follow up with a post clarifying his love of the Big G.

Who knew beneath the hipster exterior such dark thoughts swirl in the minds of Apple employees? Perhaps, as our mocked-up picture shows, behind those Apple store smiles even Geniuses are just as unhappy at work as the rest of us.

Should you be allowed to blow off steam on Facebook, Twitter and other social media, or are employers right to clamp down on negative comments -- and was the colleague right to shop their so-called friend? Have you ever posted something that came back and bit you in the behind? Let us know in the comments or on our Facebook page. Just remember -- anyone could be reading...