Most of us are sensible enough not to complain about our bosses or jobs on Facebook; in this day and age, it’s far too easy for that information to reach the eyes or the ears of the person signing your paycheck. It may not be the smartest use of social media, but it was protected; last year, the National Labor Relations Board ruled that employees could utilize social media to vocalize their complaints about their employers without facing consequences. However, the U.S. Court of Appeals recently overturned the appointments of three of the five members who sit on the board, a move that puts all of the decisions the Board made in jeopardy.
The Board made two Facebook-related rulings. The first involved the firings of five employees of Hispanics United of Buffalo, a nonprofit organization, who actually joined a Facebook group to defend their work against a co-worker. However, their Facebook group was deemed harassment and they were fired, though the Board ultimately re-instated the five employees. In the other decision, an employee at a BMW dealership was mocking a sales event on his Facebook page. The Board didn’t require the dealership to re-hire the employee, though they did make the dealership take language out of their employee handbook that prohibited employees from saying anything that may “harm the dealership’s image.”
It still isn’t entirely clear if all decisions the Board made will be overturned, or if they will be challenged on a case by case basis. However, the decision sheds a light on the importance of watching what you write on Facebook. Some things are best left unsaid, particularly when that thing could cost you your job.
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