Whether You Can Fire Over Facebook Posts Has Been Decided. Kinda.

In A Social Media Policy: Better To Have One Now Than Later I mentioned cases pending against company’s for allegedly firing individuals over Facebook posts. In one particular case, a woman alleged that she was terminated shortly after  she posted some “not so nice” remarks about her boss on Facebook. The National Labor Relations Board didn’t like this too much, and opened an investigation against the company involved.

The primary issue in the case was an overly-broad social media/blogging policy. Though important to have one in place, you have to carefully walk the line between protecting the company’s reputation and illegal censorship. Under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) employees have the right to “concerted activity”. This includes the ability to discuss workplace conditions. Consequently, company’s cannot prohibit employee’s from talking about the company over the internet or making disparaging remarks about “workplace conditions” (i.e. colleagues, bosses, etc.)

Two days ago the case was finally settled. Amongst many things, the company agreed to change its overly broad policy and allow  employees to discuss things such as conditions, wages and hours.

If you ask me, this is a pretty good example of a lot of time and money expended for something that could have been handled from the get. ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS try to have policies vetted by the appropriate experts where you can. What you spend up front will usually save you in the end.

You can find a couple articles on the case here, here, here and here.