When it doesn’t go alright on the night…

16 Mar 2017

The recent Oscars debacle over the announcement of the winner of the Best Picture award, provoked a variety of views and emotions. 

On the one hand there was the fulsome, arguably disproportionate, apology from PwC about the mistake that had been made. No lives had been lost, and no person endangered. Nevertheless, the firm clearly felt the need to explain and apologise wholeheartedly. On the other was the public ‘outing’ of the two employees involved in handling the envelopes at the ceremony. While it appears they haven’t been fired, the clear statement has been made that they would not work on the Oscars ceremony again. 

What this incident highlights is the growing concern of many organisations around reputation management, and the fact that the people working within the organisation are often the greatest risk. That factor is becoming increasingly accepted in relation to IT security given that around 80% of data breaches are committed by employees and others ‘inside’ the business, rather than external cyber or other attack.

That has led to the proliferation of IT Usage policies, fitting in somewhere between those dealing with ‘Absence at Work’ and those on ‘Working Remotely’.

May be all that this year’s Oscars shows is that human mistake can never be eradicated; that no system or process can be failsafe.

In the employment context, a single instance of getting something wrong, or failing to do something can be grounds for the instant dismissal of an employee.

Whether that is the right course and does any more than penalise the individual will depend on a variety of factors. 

Or maybe the reports that the PwC employee might have been tweeting backstage merely demonstrates the need for more effective policies on social media usage while at work!

 For more information on ensuring your HR policies are in shape, please contact:


Further reading

Permitted Development Rights and the revised NPPF: Article 4 directions

Blog, Legal Updates
A revised National Planning Policy Framework has just been published. Holly Stevenson focuses on the change to Article 4 Directions
Read more Read

Can commercial lessees now ‘relax’ given the extended Government moratorium on forfeiture for non payment of rent?

Legal Updates
Property Litigation Partner, Keith Pearlman, doesn't think so and explains why they could be in for a nasty shock from 1 October of this year
Read more Read

Excluding and limiting liability: How to play your cards right

John Yates considers the art of crafting clauses to reduce risk
Read more Read

Update on the rules concerning the changes to Crown Preference

Blog, Legal Updates
As corporate insolvencies remain low, a clear picture of how the partial reintroduction of Crown Preference is likely to impact on businesses, and on lender practices, has yet to emerge. Oliver Jackson provides an update
Read more Read
  • Brighton Office

    1 Jubilee Street


    East Sussex

    BN1 1GE

  • Gatwick Office

    Griffin House

    135 High Street


    West Sussex

    RH10 1DQ

  • Guildford Office

    Wonersh House

    The Guildway

    Old Portsmouth Road



    GU3 1LR

  • Horsham Office

    Ridgeland House

    15 Carfax


    West Sussex

    RH12 1DY

  • London Office

    6 New Street Square

    New Fetter Lane


    EC4A 3BF

  • Get in touch