A staff member at Cheshire West and Chester Council was among local authority workers disciplined for breaking social media rules after posting rude messages about the public on Facebook while on duty.
The case was mentioned in a Freedom of Information response to the BBC which revealed a rise in the number of UK council workers suspended for allegedly breaching social media rules last year.
The response showed more than 51 workers were suspended across the country. However, only a minority were later dismissed or resigned.
The exact figure is unknown because some councils did not specify how many of their employees had been suspended. The data also reveals 11 people were suspended for viewing online porn.
Cllr Paul Donovan, cabinet member for democracy and workforce at CWaC, said: “An employee was using social media during working hours to comment on issues related to members of the public. The case was fully investigated and appropriate disciplinary action was taken in line with the council’s policies and procedures.”
Some councils block workers from accessing social media unless it is part of their job. However, CWaC employees are allowed to access social media for personal use provided it is within their own time, during breaks.
A spokesman for the Local Government Association said: “Councils are clear that while some personal use of social media at work is acceptable, it must be reasonable and appropriate in terms of both the time spent and the content. The vast majority of council employees abide by that.
“Councils take very seriously any misuse and, as these figures show, will deal robustly with cases that are unacceptable.”
The statistics are not comprehensive because not all councils included school staff in their replies. In addition, some councils based their numbers on the calendar year while others used the April-to-March financial year.
Furthermore, only 169 councils provided data. Twenty-two refused and 27 did not reply to the FOI request.
But based on the information provided, 114 council staff were issued with warnings about breaching social media guidelines last year, which was a drop of 4% on 2014. However, because a higher proportion of people were forced to take time off as a result, there was a 19% rise in the number of suspensions.
The information provided also revealed some staff were suspended for more than four months for looking at pornography. That marked a 27% fall on the previous year.