It is no secret that the NLRB has put employer’s social media policies and employee discipline discharges arising out of social media (a/k/a Facebook Firings) in its cross-hairs.
This fact was recently highlighted in another NLRB Press Release (9/7/11) where an administrative law judge found that a Buffalo nonprofit organization unlawfully discharged five employees after they posted comments on Facebook concerning working conditions, including work load and staffing issues.
Similar to the Buffalo matter, NLRB social media claims generally concern an employee termination related to Facebook postings, blogs, and Tweets, as well as social media policies considered to be overly broad by the NLRB.
Several resources have recently been published that highlight these issues and provide assistance to companies and human resource professionals to avoid ending up in the NLRB’s cross hairs when it comes to social media and the NLRA.
First, the NLRB’s Acting General Counsel recently released a report detailing its investigation into cases involving employer’s social media policies and employee’s use of social media. The NLRB Social Media Report (PDF) is a must read for employers.
Second, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce released a well-written, comprehensive Report: A Survey of Social Media Issues Before the NLRB (PDF). This should also be a must-read report for human resource professionals and employers.
The prudent course of action if an employer is considering disciplining or firing an employee for a Facebook posting or other conduct relating to social media is to examine the issue of protected concerted activity under the National Labor Relations, preferably with their labor and employment counsel to avoid ending up as the next NLRB press release.