Euro 2020 online abuse leads to calls for employer involvement

The result of last night’s (11 July) Euro 2021 final has led to a significant increase in racist and hateful comments on social media that are being traced back to the commenters’ employers.

England’s loss against Italy caused mass reactions on social media, and although the comments were posted on personal accounts, the level of employer accountability for the responses has been questioned by other users.

One such comment was allegedly posted on Twitter by an employee of estate agent, Savills.

Twitter users bought the post to the attention of Savills, condemned it and called for the employee to be fired.

One user said: “Unacceptable Savills. These attitudes have no place in society. I hope the appropriate action is taken immediately.”

The reputation of the company was questioned, as another user said they would no longer use their services.  

They said: “Appalling that these are the type of people you have working with you, I’ll be avoiding your company at all costs.”

In response to the post, Savills said: “Savills is committed to eliminating discrimination and encouraging diversity amongst our workforce.

“A full investigation will be carried out in regard to this unacceptable incident.”

The estate agent also said it has a zero-tolerance policy against any form of racism and racial discrimination.

On a Glassdoor post it said: “[We are] appalled by the racist comments in these tweets. Savills is immediately investigating and will take appropriate action.”

The employee in question has had their image and contact details taken down from the Savills website.

Martin Tiplady, CEO of Chameleon People Solutions, said Savills' quick response was commendable.  

He told HR magazine: “Any employer who becomes aware of a staff member making racist comments should sort it and conduct an urgent investigation. 

“If true and proven, it displays an attitude that is inconsistent with most employers’ values and it matters not whether such was said in business time or space or not.”

Tiplady said the recent incident involving Chris Whitty and the quick actions of the assailant's employer is another example of good employer conduct.

He said: “I would support any organisation who takes steps to deal with their employees in this way as, put simply, it brings the employer into disrepute if they do not.

“If an employer does not deal or hides behind the fact that the incident had nothing to do with them, that is a failing on their part and they deserve the negative reaction they get. 

“No longer can one separate the personal actions of an individual and pretend that has no bearings on the employment relationship.”