Settlement: Boss-bashing on Facebook can't get you fired

Settlement: Boss-bashing on Facebook can't get you fired

Summary: Employees should be able to say what they'd like about their employer, their working conditions or even their wages on their Facebook pages and not be disciplined by the boss because of it.That's essentially the message that's being sent today with news of a legal settlement between a Connecticut ambulance company and a former employee, who was discharged for boss-bashing on Facebook.

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Employees should be able to say what they'd like about their employer, their working conditions or even their wages on their Facebook pages and not be disciplined by the boss because of it.

That's essentially the message that's being sent today with news of a legal settlement between a Connecticut ambulance company and a former employee, who was discharged for boss-bashing on Facebook.

The National Labor Relations Board today said that the American Medical Response of Connecticut, Inc., in settling a case with an employee who was fired after posting negative comments about her supervisor on Facebook, has agreed to revise "its overly-broad rules" in its employee handbook regarding "blogging, Internet posting and communications between employees," though it was unclear whether the terminated employee would be re-hired.

The NLRB had argued in its November 2010 filing that, under the National Labor Relations Act, employees are permitted to discuss the terms and conditions of their employment with co-workers and others - regardless of whether those conversations take place at the water cooler, in a bar after work or, yes, even on a Facebook page.

Because the employees comments on the Facebook page evolved into a conversation with others about the working conditions, it should have been protected under the Act, - the same act that gives workers a federally protected right to form unions and keeps their bosses from punishing them for talking about work conditions or unionization.

Topics: Legal, Enterprise Software, Social Enterprise

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29 comments
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  • RE: Settlement: Boss-bashing on Facebook can't get you fired

    Finally someone with common sense about this issue! Of course one is simply asking for trouble if one is friends with their boss on FB or any other non-business related social networking site (sites like LinkedIn or Plaxo are one thing).
    athynz
  • agreed to revise â??its overly-broad rulesâ??

    Well, that's not really the same thing as you said in your headline: "can't get you fired" . Sounds to me like it CAN get you fired but companies need to have more specific rules so as not to be found "overly-broad".
    cornpie
    • RE: Settlement: Boss-bashing on Facebook can't get you fired

      @cornpie
      Not to mention that A SETTLEMENT DOES ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to establish a legal precedent.
      jeverettk
    • RE: Settlement: Boss-bashing on Facebook can't get you fired

      @cornpie Yeah, and playing around with the means to your livelihood by posting anything about work is always a bad idea. What you think is fun or meaningless can be taken wrong. Even if you don't get fired, just making your boss or company honchos unhappy isn't worth a couple minutes of unloading. The best friends and enemies are the ones who don't already have a sharp knife for the moment you might rub them the wrong way.
      bartly
  • RE: Settlement: Boss-bashing on Facebook can't get you fired

    Damn,, if I had just known a few months ago,,,,,,
    p0keman
  • Depends on the state...

    Depends on the state. California is an at-will state, meaning you can quit for no reason [i]and[/i] be fired for no reason (so long as it's not a recognized form discrimination.)

    So you could say whatever you like about your job on FriendFace, but that doesn't mean you won't get fired... it just means your employer won't tell you you were fired for writing about your job online.
    olePigeon
  • GOOD!

    I have a bit of personal experience with this as my boss tried to get me fired because someone told him I was "bashing" him on Facebook. I got called into HR and logged into my FB account and showed them my profile page and hit the "Show Older Posts" link at the bottom which gave a few months of posts and they found some work related ones but they were all general posts about having a bad work day all done from my phone or after work hours. I think the worst thing I said was "I wish he would just leave me alone". Of course that was implied at my boss but no names were given and no threats were made so HR closed the case.

    I also showed them how my page is completely private outside of the people I have as friends which all of them I know personally. I found out later that it was an ex-coworker that said something to my boss and that person was immediately deleted and I confronted them and they admitted it. Needless to say we are no longer friends on FB or in real life.
    bobiroc
  • RE: Settlement: Boss-bashing on Facebook can't get you fired

    Simply put, if a single person at your work can view your posts, then it is unprofessional to bash your employer. I have some real problems with an executive where I'm at, but I'm not going to rant about them on facebook. Now I might post an 'extranormal' video about them on youtube (anonymously of course). :)
    sys_engineer
  • Blackberry Messenger

    I lost my job because of what I said on my BBM status about my boss, it was my personal phone but they said they could do that... recorded the entire conversation, have been looking for a lawyer to take my case lol
    Bentleyonthego
    • HR

      Oh I contact HR, and they completely agreed... I think it was because I just came back from being out a month on disability... and they didn't like that situation
      Bentleyonthego
  • RE: Settlement: Boss-bashing on Facebook can't get you fired

    I heard that the employee was a member of a Union, which is what made the settlement possible. If you're not in a Union, you wouldn't have the same protection.
    marbo100
    • RE: Settlement: Boss-bashing on Facebook can't get you fired

      @marbo100: That's funny, I just read that "under the National Labor Relations Act, employees are permitted to discuss the terms and conditions of their employment with co-workers and others" - doesn't mention unions.
      Reality-based
      • RE: Settlement: Boss-bashing on Facebook can't get you fired

        @Reality-based
        Yeah. Because Sam Diaz is known as a hard hitting journalist who examines all aspects of a story before posting to his blog. I guess that's the only source you need.
        marbo100
    • RE: Settlement: Boss-bashing on Facebook can't get you fired

      @marbo100 Do you have a source - other than your girlfriend's roommate's second cousin's dog twice removed? I AM a Union member and have been a Union Steward on several jobs and there is nothing either way in any union bylaws, agreements, etc. about saying things about one's boss.

      And NLRB is completely separate from the Unions. Union bylaws and agreements protect Union workers - and sometimes non Union workers depending on the circumstances - but NLRA covers ALL employees regardless of union affiliation.
      athynz
      • RE: Settlement: Boss-bashing on Facebook can't get you fired

        @athynz
        Sure. TV news. The post below by Triplell. Pick one. You probably need a better union if yours isn't protecting you in this way. Next time maybe YOU should surf over to your favorite news site and do a little of your own fact checking.
        marbo100
  • Another detail and opinion.

    There were two problems with the firing. First, they have to give notice to the employee as part of the applicable collective agreement and allow for a union rep to be present. The second part is, they collective agreement actually had a provision where employees ARE allowed to trash their bosses in any way dealing with either they pay or their scope of work.

    That's the reason for the settlement, stupid as the company was for allowing such an agreement, they did screw up.

    I put this out there because I would caution people not to think they are immune and start slamming their bosses or colleagues or whomever on facebook. So keep in mind that pretty much all of us sign a general agreement that nothing we do will undermine or subvert the company we work for, and publicly slamming your company or management can easily come under just that.

    TripleII
    TripleII-21189418044173169409978279405827
    • RE: Settlement: Boss-bashing on Facebook can't get you fired

      @TripleII Exactly! This is a highly inaccurate summation of the ruling, starting with the headline and continuing with the first and second paragraphs.

      Be careful folks, you DO NOT have carte blanche to post what you like with total impunity.
      gcox62
  • Where there is a Will, there is a Way

    As someone who has been in management, I can tell you if your company wants you gone, they will find a way. It is dumb to bash your employer in any public forum and not expect consequences. And as another poster mentioned, in work at will states, you can quit when you want and they can let you go when they want... "Your services are no longer needed, thank you and good bye." Think before talking about your employer, and/or co-workers, in any negative fashion, or perceived negative fashion, in any public forum.
    jpr75_z
    • RE: Settlement: Boss-bashing on Facebook can't get you fired

      @jpr75_z exactly what i was going to say. They can fire you for reason X instead of "because you said bad things about me and Joe tattled on you" and you're SOL just the same. Be smart.
      bc3tech
      • RE: Settlement: Boss-bashing on Facebook can't get you fired

        @bc3tech
        ...and it just amazes me that some don't know this. If they want you gone, you'll be off like a prom dress.
        zatynski