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Unfriending Facebook friends can be considered bullying in Australia

Jon Fingas, @jonfingas
September 28, 2015
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It's tempting to unfriend people on social networks when you're mad at them, but you may want to think twice about it when coworkers are involved... at least, in Australia. The country's Fair Work Commission has determined that an administrator's decision to unfriend a fellow employee on Facebook constituted evidence of bullying. While this wasn't the only example (there was plenty of name-calling and purposeful neglect), it helped demonstrate the "lack of emotional maturity" involved with the harassment. As a result, the victim now has an order to stop the bullying, which triggered anxiety, depression and sleeping disorders.

It's doubtful that you'll see cases that lean primarily on unfriending as evidence. However, the act may prove more important in legal disputes down the road. After all, it's frequently a strong sign that one person has fallen out of favor with another. Don't be shocked if your fellow staffers are more reluctant to accept your friend requests in the future -- they may be worried that any online connections could work against them down the line.

[Image credit: Oli Dunkley, Flickr]

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