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Social Networking Gone Wrong: Fired For Facebooking

Even non-union employers should be careful about how they respond to employee Facebook or other social networking posts. The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) recently announced that it will pursue American Medical Response of Connecticut (American Medical) for allegedly firing an employee after she criticized her supervisor on Facebook. This is the first time that the NLRB will argue that employees’ social networking may be a protected activity when it relates to criticisms of employers.  

Despite all of its benefits, social networking can be problematic for employers. The NLRB has analogized the negative Facebook post to the federally protected right to form unions and discuss working conditions or unionization. In this case, the NLRB has accused the company of having an overly broad “Facebook Rule” and improperly limiting employees’ rights to discuss working conditions among themselves. American Medical has a policy that prevents employees from depicting the company “in any way” on Facebook or other social media sites in which they post pictures of themselves. Employers may not establish Internet or social media policies that would “reasonably tend to chill employees’” discussions of wages, working conditions, or unionization.

All employers, whether unionized or not, should review their policies to determine if they are vulnerable to allegations against their policies.

For more information regarding Internet or social media policies or for any labor and employment advice please contact the Bingham Greenebaum Doll Labor and Employment Practice Group. Read more about the NLRB and American Medical here >>

To learn more about Andrew Gruber and his practice, please visit his profile.

  • Partner

    Andy is the Chair of the Labor & Employment Practice Group. Working exclusively in the areas of labor and employment law, Andy provides advice, counsel and litigation defense to employers in all areas of employment law, including ...

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