Some Facebook Posts Protected Speech under Labor Law?

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Five Best Practices on Social Media Use

Pointers on setting acceptable use policies for your employees' social media habit while they are at work.

It's a regular theme around here: Be careful what you post on Facebook. You might regret it later. It could be used against you. But now I might have to carve out a tiny exception to that general rule.


According to ValleyWag, the National Labor Relations Board filed a complaint in support of an ambulance worker who was fired after "airing her grievances" with her boss on Facebook. She called him crazy and used several other choice words, and co-workers added their two cents to the mix as well. The NLRB argues the speech was protected under labor laws and should not have resulted in the employee's dismissal.


Specifically, the board said:

This is a fairly straightforward case... 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.

An administrative law judge will decide whether the complaint has merit.


If it turns out that our posts on Facebook are more protected when they address working conditions, it will be interesting to see how this exception takes shape and where the lines are drawn.