Employees who post about BLM risk breaking furlough rules, says RHSU

The news comes after the VP Diversity told a student she couldn’t post about the movement on her work social media accounts


Royal Holloway SU has confirmed that employees who post about Black Lives Matter (BLM) on their work social media accounts risk breaking furlough rules.

The confirmation comes after VP Diversity Lucy Simpson told a student, who had messaged her on Instagram to ask her to share posts in support of BLM, that she was “really sorry” that she couldn’t post any content on her work accounts, as it would “undermine” the terms of her furlough.

When asked by The RHUL Tab, RHSU wouldn’t say whether it would make any allowances for furloughed staff to post BLM content on their work accounts.

“We have reminded members of our staff team that have been placed on furlough that they should not be accessing or using any of their official work accounts during the time they remain on the coronavirus job retention scheme,” Union spokesperson Michael Bailey told The RHUL Tab.

Employees are “free to use their personal accounts if they wish to support a cause, campaign or issue”, he added.

On her personal Instagram account, Simpson has expressed her support for the movement by changing her profile picture to an image of a black circle for #BlackOutTuesday.

The Union also stressed its support for the Black Lives Matter Movement: “Black Lives Matter and the current protests taking place across the world are highly emotive topics and it is right that we speak out and address racism in all forms.

“The whole Students’ Union stands in solidarity with our black students, and protesters across the US and UK as we join the call to action of Black Lives Matter.”

Simpson, along with VP Societies and Media Sophia Bolton and VP Sport Dom Brown, has been on furlough since May due to the coronavirus.

Although Bolton also hasn’t posted anything on her work accounts since then, Brown has.

This afternoon, he joined both President Jack O’Neill and VP Education Kate Roberts in supporting BLM by posting an image of a black square on his Instagram account for #BlackOutTuesday, along with a link to RHSU’s recent statement in support of the BLM movement.

It is unclear whether any action will be taken against Brown for potentially breaking furlough rules.

Lucy Simpson did not respond to a request for comment.

Update: Dom Brown has now removed the image from his work account on Instagram.