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Expat fired over abusive social media post against Indian journalist

Employees can be sacked for social media misuse, even if subject of abuse is outside workplace, says employer

Image Credit: Facebook
Journalist Rana Ayyub says she will file a police case against the accused in New Delhi.

Dubai: A UAE-based company has sacked an Indian employee for abusing an Indian journalist on social media and for posting offensive posts against Islam on Facebook, Gulf News has learnt

The incident came to light after Rana Ayyub, a well-known investigative journalist based in New Delhi, exposed the vulgar messages on Twitter following which some of her followers reported the matter to the management of the UAE company where the Indian employee worked.

The 31-year-old employee identified as B.B., from Kerala, joined Alpha Paint in Dubai, a sister company of National Paints in Sharjah, in 2015.

He worked as a customer service employee.

B.B. sent an abusive message with sexual overtones to the Indian journalist on Facebook messenger.

Ayyub posted a screenshot of the message on April 6 saying: “Just a sample of the filth I receive on my Facebook page. Time to name and shame this pervert.”

B.B. action angered social media users who took the issue to the company management on April 7.

Complaint

Shadi Al Refai, human resource manager of the company, told Gulf News that they received the complaint by email on April 7 from a man saying that one of the staff members abused a woman on social media.

The email included a copy of the abusive message sent by the B.B.

“We verified the accuracy of the information and checked on the name of the man. On April 8, at 8 am the termination order of (B.B.) was issued,” Al Refai said.

The management summoned B.B. who admitted sending the abusive messages and promised not to repeat his action.

“When we checked on his Facebook account, we saw the abusive message which was sent to that lady in addition to offensive posts against Islam,” he said.

Cybercrime law

Under the UAE Cybercrime law, any form of misuse of a computer or smart device or an electronic network or system could fetch the violator, if found guilty, a lengthy jail term and/or a fine as hefty as Dh3 million.

The company said it terminated his contract and will pay for his tickets and his rights according to the UAE labour law. On Monday, his visa was cancelled and he will be deported.

On hearing the news about the termination of the man, Ayyub, tweeted: “Humanity is alive. I am told that the person who wrote this to me has been sacked from his job following a complaint by a good samaritan.”.

When contacted, she told Gulf News that she will be filing a police case against the accused in New Delhi.

“I am planning to file an FIR [First Information Report] in Delhi tomorrow,” she said over phone.

Congratulating the company for the quick and stern decision, she said: “I think it is brave of them to do this without even me filing an FIR…and without even getting in touch with me… He could do this at his workplace tomorrow if he doesn’t like someone. This is a lesson for even others who write such messages.”

“I have been told that the UAE laws are very strict against women harassment even on social media. For the first time I am personally seeing it happening. It feels that women are indeed safe there. I think the UAE government also deserves congratulations.”

Ayyub urged victims of social media abuse and trolls to open up and expose the accused.

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