Years ago, it was newspaper who feeds us with news and events. Now, the internet has taken over its job. Social Media, such as Twitter, is reporting “LIVE” events, INSTANTLY. Even the journalists are collecting information through the internet. One offensive comment is able to ruin your life completely, in just a blink of an eye.

One of the ethical issues that I find it important for companies would be the duty of care. Every action that the employees do will reflect on the company’s image. Companies have to take precaution of their employees’ personal use of social media.

Let me bring you through an example that had happened in Singapore two years ago.

An Assistant Director from the membership department of National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) was sacked after posting an offensive remark on her personal Facebook account. What Amy Cheong did was complaining about a Malay wedding that was held at a void deck near her home.


[Image cropped from blog.cripperz.sg]

Not only that, she wrote another post, “Void deck weddings should be banned. If you can’t afford a proper wedding then you shouldn’t be getting married. Full stop.” (Tan, J. 2012)

It went viral in just one day. What she had done have lead to the dissatisfaction of Malay community as well as many citizens. Internet users have showered the NTUC’s official UMembers Facebook page with comments within a day, demanding for her dismissal and the trade organisation’s response to her post.


[Image cropped from The Straits Times News website]

There are also Facebook pages created, such as “Fire Amy Cheong” as well as “Stop Racism on Singapore”, to start a petition, asking for the removal from her position in the company. These pages went viral too.


[Image cropped from The Straits Times News website]

Amy Cheong made an apology on her Facebook account as well as publishing one on the UMembers Facebook Page. Besides, after deactivating her Facebook account, she again made another apology on her newly created Twitter account.

Social media does allow freedom of speech. However, one has to be responsible for its own action. One unethical action that the employees make, does not only affect him or her, but also the organisation’s reputation.

Therefore, companies should provide guidance to employees in addressing the ethical problems on social media. They should also come out with social media policies and made it clear to the employees, so that they are aware of the consequences that they will face.


Business Ethics Briefing. (2011). The Ethical Challenges of Social Media. Institute of Business Ethics.(IBE). [Accessed: 5th December 2014]

Tan, J. (2012). NTUC fires Assistant Director for racist comments. Yahoo! News. [Accessed: 5th December 2014]

Yong, C. & Duraai, J. (2012). Reactions to Amy Cheong’s racist rant questioned. The Straits Times. [Accessed: 5th December 2014]


3 thoughts on “DUTY OF CARE.

  1. Hey Ruhuan,

    Thanks for showing the example of Amy Cheong, definitely something more closely related to us compared to others. It didn’t occur to me that this could be a very good example too!

    Personally, I feel that not only one should be responsible for what they post on their accounts, the companies should do a diligent check on their employers social media account (be it for work or for personal usage)

    I’ve found some ways a company can use to stop the problem (employees using personal social media accounts and affecting the reputation of the company). Do hop over and read more about it!


  2. Hey Yanyi,

    Thanks for your comment!

    I understand that employers should also keep a look out on their employees social media account to see if there are any unethical comments that will affect the company’s reputation. However, Yi ming has a thought provoking question on his blog asking if it is ethical to check on employees social media account. How is your thought regarding that question? Do read up his post as well.

    I have read through your blog post about how companies should prevent the problem for occurring. Your post is also well written!



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