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OnlyFans or Only-income?

With the ever-growing popularity of the adult subscription site, OnlyFans, employers are seeking guidance on whether they can dismiss an employee that they discover to be a content creator. To dismiss an employee, it must fall into one of the five fair reasons:

  • Redundancy
  • Capability
  • Conduct
  • Illegality
  • Some other substantial reason

Consequently, having an OnlyFans account alone may not be sufficient to dismiss an employee. Instead, an employer may also have regard to the impact on its reputation and whether it is being brought into disrepute. Again, whether an employer can dismiss an employee for creating X-rated content will be contingent upon their contract of employment, their job role and sector and any policies set out by the workplace or applicable regulatory body.

Some occupations, such as Health Care, Teachers and Solicitors are regulated professions, meaning that there are rules and codes that must be followed. Such codes usually require the employee to uphold the profession’s reputation and avoiding any and all activities that may bring it into disrepute and to act with integrity. In the event of a serious beach, the regulator could strike off the employee and revoke their ability to practice.

Alternatively, the starting point for an employer who finds themselves in this situation would be to review the employee’s contract of employment to deduce whether there are secondary employment restrictions in place. If so, the employee could be in breach of their contract If they haven’t sought permission to undertake additional work.

Guidance for employers:

  • Draft a comprehensive social media policy that all employees have access to;
  • Issue training bulletins and/or updates regarding the company’s social media policy;
  • Encourage an open dialogue with employees, you may find that that they are turning to OnlyFans as a second income due to money worries;
  • Ensure all managers are familiar with the company’s disciplinary policy and offer training where needed. Remember, a policy is only as good as its implementation, any breaches should be dealt with consistently; and
  • If you are considering taking disciplinary action, seek legal advice as a wrong decision may lead to a costly unfair dismissal claim.

Please feel free to contact the Employment Team on [email protected] for any assistance.