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Employees May Enjoy Protection in Social Media Activity

Posted on in Employment

The National Labor Relations Board recently found that a company that fired an employee a Facebook “Like” on a negative comment that was posted by a former employee, was wrong in doing so. The case is relating to a sports bar in Connecticut, where employees in 2011 discovered that they would have to pay more income tax than expected, because of a mistake by the employer.

The employees discussed this on Facebook, and a former employee of the company was part of that discussion. The former worker posted a disparaging status about the company on her Facebook wall. Many of the former employee's friends, who were working at the bar, ended up liking or commenting on the post. These were negative comments about the company, and the employer took retaliatory action against some of these employees by firing them.

The National Labor Relations Board has ruled that liking a negative comment about an employer on Facebook, constitutes protected activity, and that the employer was wrong in taking action against the employee.

For employers to have blanket bans on commenting about the company or commenting negatively about the company or discussing the employer on Facebook or other social media, is a troublesome area. It infringes on employee rights, and employees are within their rights to discuss work or work-related issues online, just as they would at the office water cooler.

 

There have been a number of instances reported from around the country, in which employers have used employee social media activity, including Facebook likes, updates, and even Twitter posts to fire employees. These kinds of allegations against employees may be illegal. If you have recently faced such retaliatory action by an employer in response to your social media activity, speak to a California employment lawyer.

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