Freedom of Speech

Almost since the inception of social media and their mobile apps, workers have turned to these platforms to let off a little steam in the middle of the work day. And everyone that has said something in relation to their job, whether the company name was mentioned or not, has felt that they can say what they want on their accounts and not feel the repercussions of that company’s retaliation. Personal, I can’t tell you how many meetings I have been in at my employee and the issue has come up with some members of management asking, more so demanding, that we refrain from making comments on such forums while other managers have said go for if it makes it easier to get through your day.

While, there is new ruling in court this week that states that employees are allowed to vent about their working conditions without putting their jobs on the line. This is a slap in the face of those supervisors and managers that I have removed from my friends list over the years that have made references of pending disciplinary action based on my status updates whether they were received correctly or not.

Check out this article from

Employees Can’t Be Fired for Facebook Complaints, Judge Says


Five workers fired for complaining about their jobs on Facebook will go back to work after the National Labor Relations Board ruled in their favor, affirming workers can safely vent their frustrations about the workplace on social networks.

The dust-up began last year when an employee at the non-profit agency Hispanics United of Buffalo vented on Facebook, on a non-working Saturday, about a co-worker’s accusation that she didn’t do enough for the organization’s clients.

Other co-workers chimed in to make comments like, “What the f… Try doing my job. I have 5 programs,” and “Tell her to come do [my] f***ing job n c if I don’t do enough, this is just dum.”

10 images Gallery: The Facebook Wall Of Shame

The co-worker saw the messages and passed them along to a supervisor, who fired the workers, citing the company’s social media policy banning cyber harassment of co-workers.

One of the terminated employees complained to the National Labor Relations Board. The judge, in the first social media case that didn’t involve a unionized workplace, ruled the employees were within their rights to converse among themselves about working conditions.

Under the National Labor Relations Act, employees have the right to talk to each other about improving work conditions, and the board viewed the Facebook conversation as an example of just that.

Earlier this year, a court settled another complaint by the NLRB citing that same right, this time involving a union issue at the American Medical Response of Connecticut.

In that case, the judge ruled the terminated employee’s Facebook comments, which took issue with her boss’ handling of a customer complaint, were considered “protected concerted activity” under the NLRA.

Outside the workplace, though, reactions to negative social media comment may not get people fired, but they can get them ousted from an establishment. This was the case for Allison Matsu, who was having drinks at Houston’s Down House and posted a tweet calling the bartender a “twerp.”

The bar’s tech savvy general manager realized the tweet came from inside the premises and asked Matsu to leave.

The reinstatement of the workers in Buffalo includes a provision to fully restore their back pay. But while the ruling is good news for those who want to vent their work frustrations on Facebook or other social media outlets, finding more discreet ways of venting may be wise to avoid future hassles.

This post originally appeared at Mobiledia.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s