The National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) recently affirmed the right of an employer to take action against its employees for posting negative comments about the employer on a social media page. While it may seem obvious that an employer would have the right to take action, questions began to arise on the subject after the NLRB filed a complaint against a company for terminating an employee who allegedly violated the company’s social networking policy which prohibited depicting the company “in any way” without the employer’s permission. This month, however, the NLRB has issued three separate opinions in favor of employers who decided to take action following posts by their employees on Facebook. In each case, the employees in question made comments which would not be acceptable in the workplace. The cases are well summarized by Seth Borden in Labor Relations Today: http://www.laborrelationstoday.com/2011/07/articles/nlrb-decisions/nlrb-division-of-advice-provides-additional-guidance-on-social-media-issues/
What does this mean for employers? Employers can now be assured that they are not powerless to take action against employees for postings on Facebook or other social media pages. However, employers should take care to have a clearly defined social media policy before taking such action.