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Employees Fired Over Social Media, NLRB Reacts

8.1.11

Michael Greco of the Philadelphia office was quoted in the August 1 BLR article "Employees Fired Over Social Media, NLRB Reacts." During an interview about monitoring employee use of social media, Mike sad that "limits on individuals' rights are legitimate if they impinge on others' rights." He pointed out this is particularly true when an employee impinges on his employer's rights. The media outlet posed the question of whether employees can use their own computers, on their time, to criticize their boss, job and top management. The National Labor Relations Board has issued opinions on that and they appear to turn on the content of the material posted to private Facebook and Twitter accounts. In one case, in which an employee posed negative comments about a supervisor, the NLRB said that employees may discuss the terms and conditions of their employment on their social networking sites. In two cases, non-union employers found themselves in the sights of the NLRB. In one case, a reporter, who had been encouraged to use his Twitter account to discuss newsworthy events, was using profanity and sexually explicit language and seemed to take a stand in favor of committing violent acts. The newspaper told him to stop. When he didn't the paper fired him. The reporter complained to the NLRB. The Board ruled that his tweets were not discussions with co-workers about the workplace so they were unprotected and his firing was legitimate.

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