Article 43

 

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Publically Talking About Work

NLRB: Facebook Discussions Between Co-Workers are Protected Speech

By Michael Whitney
Work In Progress
November 9, 2010

This is why its nice to have a Democratic majority on the National Labor Relations Board: workers get rights. The National Labor Relations Board ruled that an employee can safely discuss work issues with their co-workers on Facebook without fearing punishment by their employer.

At issue was an employee complaining about her supervisor on her Facebook wall, which solicited feedback from other co-workers. While the employer fired the person who originally posted the complaint to Facebook, the NLRB ruled yesterday that the employee should not have been fired.

The labor relations board announced last week that it had filed a complaint against an ambulance service, American Medical Response of Connecticut, that fired an emergency medical technician, accusing her, among other things, of violating a policy that bars employees from depicting the company in any way on Facebook or other social media sites in which they post pictures of themselves.

Lafe Solomon, the boards acting general counsel, said, “This is a fairly straightforward case under the National Labor Relations Act whether it takes place on Facebook or at the water cooler, it was employees talking jointly about working conditions, in this case about their supervisor, and they have a right to do that.”

This is a big step forward for workers, who don’t necessarily have to fear being fired for discussing their work on Facebook with coworkers on their own time. But the key phrase here is “with coworkers” - there may be a danger of an employer taking disciplinary action if an employee takes to Facebook about their work, but doesn’t involve coworkers in the discussion.

The labor board said that her comments “drew supportive responses from her co-workers and led to further negative comments about the supervisor.” Mr. Kreisberg said: “You’re allowed to talk about your supervisor with your co-workers. You’re allowed to communicate the concerns and criticisms you have. The only difference in this case is she did it on Facebook and did it on her own time and her own computer.”

An administrative law judge is scheduled to begin hearing the case on Jan. 25. Marshall B. Babson, a member of the National Labor Relations Board in the 1980s, said a broad company rule that says one cannot make disparaging comments about supervisors is clearly illegal under labor law. But he said an employee’s criticizing a company or supervisor on Facebook was not necessarily protected activity.

“There will arguably be cases where it is not concerted activity,” Mr. Babson said, suggesting that if a worker lashed out in a post against a supervisor but was not communicating with co-workers, that type of comment might not be protected.

“If the Facebook conversation involves several co-workers, however, it is far more likely to be viewed as concerted protected activity,” he said.

While this is a step forward for employees digital rights, thereҒs much ground to be made up. The NLRB still allows employers to ban employees from using office email to discuss union activity. But having Facebook discussions as protected speech is a big deal for workers rights.

SOURCE

Posted by Elvis on 11/18/10 •
Section American Solidarity
View (0) comment(s) or add a new one
Printable viewLink to this article
Home
Page 1 of 1 pages

Statistics

Total page hits 12268423
Page rendered in 0.5247 seconds
40 queries executed
Debug mode is off
Total Entries: 3455
Total Comments: 339
Most Recent Entry: 01/27/2023 09:58 am
Most Recent Comment on: 09/26/2021 05:03 pm
Total Logged in members: 0
Total guests: 18
Total anonymous users: 1
The most visitors ever was 588 on 01/11/2023 03:46 pm

Current Logged-in Members: 


Email Us

Home

Members:
Login | Register
Resumes | Members

In memory of the layed off workers of AT&T

Today's Diversion

The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has limits. - Albert Einstein

Search


Advanced Search

Sections

Calendar

November 2010
S M T W T F S
  1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
28 29 30        

Must Read

Most recent entries

RSS Feeds

CNN Top Stories

ARS Technica

External Links

Elvis Favorites

BLS and FRED Pages

Reference

Other Links

All Posts

Archives

RSS


Creative Commons License


Support Bloggers' Rights