Social Media, Business, and the NLRB: Employee Rights Online

Here’s a look at what JD Supra lawyers are saying about the recent National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Complaint in a case in which an employee was fired after posting critical remarks about her supervisor on Facebook. [Updated Jam 2011.]

This follows as an update to our Social Media in the Workplace legal reading list:

NLRB Issues Complaint Over Facebook Posts Mocking Supervisor (by McNees Wallace & Nurick LLP):

“In what the National Labor Relations Board’s (the “NLRB”) Acting
General Counsel called a “straightforward case” under the National
Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”), the Hartford Regional Office of the NLRB
issued a Complaint alleging that an employer illegally terminated an
employee who posted disparaging remarks about her supervisor on her
personal Facebook page. While the October 27, 2010 Complaint is only an
accusation, and not a formal ruling from the NLRB, the repercussions of
this action are critically important for both unionized and non-union
employers…” Read more>>

Fired for Facebooking: Beware for Potential NLRB Action (by Poyner Spruill LLP):

“The employee in question, an emergency technician, was required to
prepare a response to a customer complaint. When she asked her
supervisor for permission to have her Teamsters representative help
prepare her response, this request was denied. The technician’s
employer, American Medical Response of Connecticut (AMR), fired her
after she criticized her supervisor in a posting on Facebook. The
company argued she was fired for violating its social media policy…” Read more>>

Facebook Firing? NLRB Complaint Alleges Employer Violated Employee’s Rights (by Dinsmore & Shohl):

“The National Labor Relations Board’s Hartford, Connecticut office recently issued an unfair labor practice complaint against an employer after the employer fired an employee who posted derogatory comments regarding her supervisor on the employee’s personal Facebook page. In his Complaint, Acting Region 34 Director John S. Cotter claims that the employee’s Facebook comments were protected speech under federal labor laws.”
Read more>>

Restricting Employees’ Internet Conduct May Violate Federal Labor Law (by Foley Hoag):

“…Because the NLRB has long held that employees have the right under federal labor law to criticize their employer, the General Counsel alleged that this policy was unlawful.” Read more>>

Does your Company’s Internet Policy Comply with Labor Law? (by Venable):

“Until now, the NLRB has held that employers have the right to maintain reasonable workplace policies to maintain order in the workplace and avoid liability from employee actions that affect the public. The Board has balanced these employer rights against the right of employees, both union and non-union, to engage in “concerted activity” for their ‘mutual aid and protection’ under the National Labor Relations Act…” Read more>>

Overly Broad Social Media Policies: Are Employers at Risk? (by Armstrong Teasdale):

“The NLRA prohibits employers from disciplining employees for discussing working conditions, regardless of whether or not they are part of a union. The NLRB takes the position that the company’s broad Social Media policy, along with the discharge of the employee, violates the NLRA because the employee and her co-workers were simply discussing their working conditions…” Read more>>

– Related:

Worker Rights Extend to Facebook, Labor Board Says (NYT)

Avoiding Social Networking Land Mines For Employers (Manatt)

American Medical Association Adopts Social Media Guidelines (The Harlow Group)

ALM’s Social Media: Risks & Rewards – E-Discovery & Social Media (International Lawyers Network)


Social Media in the Workplace: Legal Issues, Business Policies

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