• Another Social Media Blog...
  • March 4, 2015 | Author: Jennifer A. Shoemaker
  • Law Firm: Underberg & Kessler LLP - Rochester Office
  • Social media remains in the forefront at the NLRB, and to reiterate, the National Labor Relations Act applies to union and non-union workforces alike. As such, employees can discuss their pay, benefits, work conditions, etc. on social media and it will be considered protected activity.

    In a recent Board case, an employee used a profane word to refer to her boss during a Facebook discussion about the employer improperly withholding taxes and was fired for her “defamatory and disparaging” comments. The NLRB found that “a single expletive to describe a manager, in the course of a protected discussion on a social media website, does not sufficiently implicate the [employer’s] legitimate interest in maintaining discipline and order in the workplace...”.

    The Board noted that an employer has an interest in maintaining order in the workplace, and in protecting the disparagement of its products or services. Because the comments appeared on a personal Facebook page as opposed to the company’s page, with no evidence that the privacy settings enabled public access, the Board compared the discussion to a conversation that could potentially be overheard by a third party, rather than one that was clearly directed to the public.

    Just another reminder that employers must be very careful when using Facebook or other social media posts as a reason to take employment action.