Facebook Discharge Case Settles

02.21.2011
HR & Safety

A settlement has been reached in a case involving the discharge of a Connecticut ambulance service employee for posting negative comments about a supervisor on her Facebook page.

The National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) Hartford regional office issued a complaint against the company last fall, alleging that the discharge violated federal labor law because the employee was engaged in “protected activity” when she posted the comments about her supervisor and responded to further comments from her coworkers. Under the National Labor Relations Act, employees may discuss the terms and conditions of their employment with coworkers and others.

The NLRB complaint also charged that the company maintained overly broad rules in its employee handbook regarding blogging, Internet posting, and communications between employees, and that the employee had been denied union representation during an investigatory interview shortly before she posted the negative comments on her Facebook page.

Under the terms of the settlement, the company agreed to revise its rules to ensure that they do not improperly restrict employees from discussing their wages, hours, and working conditions with coworkers and others while not at work. The company also agreed that they would not discipline or discharge employees for engaging in such discussions.

The company also promised that employee requests for union representation will not be denied in the future and that employees will not be threatened with discipline for requesting union representation. The allegations involving the employee’s discharge were resolved through a separate, private agreement between the employee and the company.

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