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NLRB Rules that Criticizing our employers on Facebook is Protected Speech

 
 
Reply Tue 9 Nov, 2010 12:36 pm
Quote:
In what labor officials and lawyers view as a ground-breaking case involving workers and social media, the National Labor Relations Board has accused a company of illegally firing an employee after she criticized her supervisor on her Facebook page.

This is the first case in which the labor board has stepped in to argue that workers’ criticisms of their bosses or companies on a social networking site are generally a protected activity and that employers would be violating the law by punishing workers for such
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/09/business/09facebook.html?_r=1&hp

How quaint.....in recent times Employers have been allowed to fire people for just about any damn reason, only race, sex and gender have been off limits as reasons to fire. I fully expect SCOTUS to overturn this decision
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Type: Discussion • Score: 2 • Views: 1,612 • Replies: 9
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engineer
 
  1  
Reply Tue 9 Nov, 2010 12:42 pm
@hawkeye10,
Same here. Badmouthing your private employer in public (and FB is public) has always been grounds for dismissal. There seems to be a question about the union in here, but it seems like a small thing compared to the disparaging comments.
hawkeye10
 
  1  
Reply Tue 9 Nov, 2010 12:54 pm
@engineer,
Quote:

Same here. Badmouthing your private employer in public (and FB is public)
My facebook is friends only, mine is not public...
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Tue 9 Nov, 2010 02:46 pm
@engineer,
This isn't cut and dry to me.

Is Facebook public like a conversation in a bar? Or is Facebook public like a newspaper advertisement?

I would side with the employee if they were fired for a conversation had in a public space (i.e. bar). I would side with the employer if the employee was specifically broadcasting insults with the intent of getting an audience.

engineer
 
  1  
Reply Tue 9 Nov, 2010 03:40 pm
@maxdancona,
The article says the NLRB stepped in because employees were discussing the terms of their employment and employees are generally protected when discussing management and labor issues. The company alleges that the facebook attacks went much further with personal insults flying. I doubt the intent was to get an audience. More likely it a bitch session. Still it was public (if it was set to private I doubt the company could have found it.) Trashing your employer in public is a quick way to lose your job. It will be interesting to see how it plays out, but I think Hawk is right that this will lose on appeal.
engineer
 
  1  
Reply Tue 9 Nov, 2010 03:41 pm
@hawkeye10,
hawkeye10 wrote:

My facebook is friends only, mine is not public...

Good policy.
0 Replies
 
hawkeye10
 
  1  
Reply Tue 9 Nov, 2010 04:11 pm
@engineer,
Quote:
but I think Hawk is right that this will lose on appeal
jsyk I was being derogatory towards SCOTUS....I have argued often that employers have too much say over the lives of their workers, and that SCOTUS has a recent history of failing to support the rights of the individual when they conflict with the desires of either the holders of capital or the law and order contingent.
engineer
 
  1  
Reply Tue 9 Nov, 2010 04:26 pm
@hawkeye10,
But that doesn't mean you are wrong.
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maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Tue 9 Nov, 2010 09:36 pm
@engineer,
My point is that there are different levels of publicness. A bitch session in a bar is public, and could be overheard. Standing outside a place of business with a bullhorn is public in a different way.

To me the question is how Facebook posts should fit in this spectrum.
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Wed 10 Nov, 2010 11:07 am
@engineer,
engineer wrote:

Same here. Badmouthing your private employer in public (and FB is public) has always been grounds for dismissal. There seems to be a question about the union in here, but it seems like a small thing compared to the disparaging comments.

No, the question about the union here is a big thing. That's the only reason that the NLRB got involved, and it's the only reason that federal labor laws are implicated in what otherwise would be a simple matter of employee misconduct. If the employee's remarks can be construed as having some relationship to union organizing activities at her workplace, then they might very well be protected, and if she was fired for making those remarks in the context of union organizing, then that would constitute an unfair labor practice.
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