NLRB scrutinizes social media policies

The labor board is keeping an eye on corporate policies that might violate employees' Section 7 rights.

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) sparked headlines when it issued a complaint against a Connecticut ambulance company that fired an employee who used her own Facebook page to complain about her supervisor and then responded to comments from co-workers. The case touched a nerve with employers grappling with writing policies governing employee use of social media.

As it turns out, American Medical Response (AMR) settled the NLRB complaint in February by agreeing to revamp its social media rules to ensure they don’t interfere with employee rights to discuss their wages, hours and working conditions with co-workers. The company reached a separate settlement with the fired employee. 

Another pending case illustrates that employers trying to protect their image from disparaging employee comments on social media may also be vulnerable. In May, the NLRB filed a complaint when a Chicago car dealership terminated a salesman who posted photos and comments critical of the food and beverages the dealership offered at a promotional event. When asked to remove the posts, the salesman did so, but was terminated anyway.

The NLRB said the salesman’s posting was protected concerted activity because it related to a discussion among employees about the terms and conditions of their employment. The dealership said the salesman was fired for other reasons.

Senior Editor

Mary Swanton

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