Yippee – I COULD Insult My Boss on Facebook Now! You’ve probably heard about the situation the National Labor Relations Board brought against an organization for disciplining a worker predicated on insults she published on her Facebook web page about her boss. Well, it resolved. So I be prepared to hear about a couple of employees posting awful remarks about their bosses on Facebook, tweeting about how exactly terrible management is, and thinking why the heck these were fired then.
Please, please don’t post anything in interpersonal media you don’t want on the front page of the business newsletter. Don’t get yourself fired over something stupid. In re American Medical Response of Connecticut, Inc., Case No. 34-CA-12576 (October 27, 2010), is where the NLRB claimed an organization violated the “concerted activity” provision of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA).
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I personally like this provision a lot because it can be applied whether or not the company has a union, and covers much every workplace pretty. HR people and management-side lawyers don’t prefer to discuss it because it covers anything employees do for mutual aid or protection. If you’re complaining about working conditions, not your own but also those of your coworkers just, you’re covered from retaliation under the Country wide Labor Relationships Take action possibly. Does that mean you should rush to post just what a jerk your boss is?
No. Not if you don’t want to be fired. The NLRB’s arrangement of the case doesn’t mean that you’re necessarily secured. The known facts of the case weren’t uncommon, but they might not apply to you. The business had an insurance plan that prohibited: “disparaging, discriminatory or defamatory comments when discussing the business or the employee’s superiors, co-workers and/or competitors.” It also prohibited employees from depicting the business at all in social media.
That’s pretty wide. Part of the NLRB’s meat was that the restriction was too broad. The business said she was rude and unprofessional, and violated their internet policy. Her coworkers then weighed in with comments helping her and with further negative responses about the supervisor. A big reason the NLRB found her activities covered was the actual fact that it resulted in responses from coworkers.
If you post something merely to vent and it doesn’t result in a dialogue with coworkers, you’re not in the same fishing boat probably. So tweeting that your boss is a jerk when your coworkers don’t follow you or comment is probably not going to be treated the same manner. While this wasn’t the first case involving protected comments, it was the first concerning social mass media.
So yes, protesting poor working conditions may be guarded under the National Labor Relationships Work. It is advisable to shut your mouth about any complaints you have still, especially in social media. There are just too many ways you can mess yourself up, and the law has many loopholes to offer much aid and comfort too. Intention is key: Your intent is all-important. In case your employer thinks your purpose was to retaliate, damage your boss’s reputation, damage the ongoing company, or not to boost working conditions, you’re probably going to have to file for unemployment then.
You might not be protected: There are also a lot of exclusions, so many employees aren’t secured. Since the NLRA is intended to protect tries to unionize mostly, supervisors, independent contractors (yeah, yeah, most employers get this wrong), domestic employees, agricultural workers, family member employees, managerial and confidential employees aren’t covered. If you’re enough up high, you can’t gripe and get away with it.