Possible Settlement in NLRB Facebook Case

Yesterday, the NLRB board was planning to hear a woman’s case claiming she was fired because of negative comments she made about her supervisor on Facebook.  Previously, an NLRB attorney advocating for this employee had argued that the employee was protected under the First Amendment to speak out, even against her employer, on Facebook and the like.  This impacts companies in a big way because many of them have social networking use policies that state an employee is not allowed to disparage the employer’s image, reputation or brand.

Now comes word that the hearing was postponed in an effort for the two sides to come to a settlement.  This would be disappointing in that it would leave the issue unresolved.  However, it does suggest that if employers want to avoid facing these kinds of claims, they might want to craft their policies and procedures with more nuance and caution.

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2 Responses to “Possible Settlement in NLRB Facebook Case”

  1. Courtney Hunt Says:

    The issue has now been settled…

    In both the coverage of the settlement announcement and the coverage after the complaint was initially filed, I’ve observed many misrepresentations and misunderstandings. I’ve written two blog posts to try to help folks focus on the facts and evaluate this issue as rationally as possible:

    (Nov. 2010): The NLRB’s Recent Action: Separating Fact from Fiction – And Unfounded Fear (http://tiny.cc/SMinOrgsNLRBpost)

    (Feb 2011): The NLRB “Facebook Settlement:” Let’s Focus on the Facts (http://tiny.cc/SMinOrgsNLRBsett)

    I welcome comments and questions on both.

    Courtney Hunt
    Founder, Social Media in Organizations (SMinOrgs) Community

    • Randy Wilson Says:

      thanks for the comment Courtney. I agree there have been some exaggerations and misstatements as to the meaning of this NLRB case. However, the NLRB news release makes clear that American Medical Response is revising its “overly broad” rules regarding what employees can say about “wages, hours and working conditions with employers and others while not at work.”

      After this, what employer wants to get into a similar situation as American Medical Response?

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