South African fired for slanderous Facebook comment

Updated on May 27, 2009 05:24 PM IST

A South African worker was fired for calling his boss a "serial masturbator" on social networking site Facebook, The Times newspaper said on Wednesday.

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AFP | By, Johannesburg

A South African worker was fired for calling his boss a "serial masturbator" on social networking site Facebook, The Times newspaper said on Wednesday.

The 23-year-old clothing factory clerk in the southern coastal city of Durban lost his job after a co-worker reported his inappropriate status update, it said.

The Times did not specify when the man was fired and said he had asked not to be named in fear of losing his current job.

While bloggers have faced pressure for penning defamatory statements, being dismissed over a Facebook status update is relatively new in South Africa, the newspaper said.

The clerk's axing followed the suspension of a 25-year-old worker for venting his spleen about his Pretoria employer's alleged laziness, while another Facebook user suffered the same fate for plugging a competitor's product on her profile page.

Law expert Willem de Klerk warned that malicious comments on Facebook are as illegal as verbal defamatory statements.

"There is a huge difference between having your say based on fact and using the platform to slag off your employer," De Klerk of the Johannesburg-based Wits Law Clinic, was quoted by The Times as saying.

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