Facebook status: Catching heat from NLRB

Overheard from the HRidiot: “Our social media policy: “Would you say it to your mother? If not, don’t say it on Facebook.” Does that violate the NLRA?”

A few years ago, we didn’t have problems with social media. If you caught an employee saying something bad about your company, it was probably through another employee who heard him mouthing off at happy hour. But with the number of people “expressing themselves” over Facebook and the hundreds of people who see these posts, companies have a legitimate interest in conveying a positive corporate image. But overbroad policies can be troublesome, as American Medical Response (AMR) recently found out.

AMR fired an employee for making disparaging comments on her Facebook status about her supervisor, which violated AMR’s social media policy. Unfortunately for AMR, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) challenged this firing, claiming the termination was illegal because the comments constituted a “protected concerted activity” and that AMR’s social media policy was overbroad and violated the employees’ Section 7 rights under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). AMR’s policy looks like a lot of policies you might see, except for a few subtle distinctions. How can you be sure you won’t make the same mistake?

Our partners at Baker & McKenzie have written “Does Your Company’s Social Media Policy Violate the National Labor Relations Act?” which outlines what happened in this case and what union and non-union employers can learn from this situation. Click here to read the article.


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