NLRB: Facebook Firing Illegal
A complaint issued by the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) Hartford regional office alleges that an ambulance service illegally terminated an employee who posted negative remarks about her supervisor on her personal Facebook page. The complaint also claims that the company maintained and enforced an overly broad blogging and Internet posting policy.
When asked by her supervisor to prepare an investigative report concerning a customer complaint about her work, the employee requested and was denied representation from her union, says the NLRB. Later that day from her home computer, the employee posted a negative remark about the supervisor on her personal Facebook page, which drew a supportive response from her coworkers, and led to further negative comments from the employee. The company suspended and later terminated the employee for her Facebook postings, saying they violated the company’s Internet policies.
An NLRB investigation found that the employee’s Facebook postings constituted protected “concerted activity,” and that the company’s blogging and Internet posting policy contained unlawful provisions, including one prohibiting employees from making disparaging remarks when discussing the company or supervisors and another that prohibited employees from depicting the company in any way over the Internet without company permission. Such provisions constitute interference with employees in the exercise of their right to engage in protected activity, says the NLRB.
A hearing on the case is scheduled for Jan.25, 2011.
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