There is an interesting story coming out of Connecticut having to do with an employee’s termination of employment from comments made on Facebook. An initial ruling of the National Labor Relations Board says that the employee was improperly terminated.
The woman, who’s identity has not been disclosed, criticized her supervisor on Facebook after being asked to respond to a complaint from a customer. The company, American Medical Response, reportedly has a policy that prohibits employees from making negative remarks about the company and company management.
While on the outside this may look like a sudden swing for responders who have crossed the line in social media, it is important to understand that the reason behind the actual decision was because the NLRB found the company had failed to allow the employee union representation and that conversations with coworkers about what is happening at the workplace is a protected activity both offline and online. This initial ruling does not address the issue about the visibility or participation of those online conversations by those who are not also employed by the company.
There will be an additional hearing in Hartford in January on the matter where the company will be able to present their side and the union representing the woman will also be allowed to present arguments.
We’ve already written extensively about consequences to employees for using social media, your First Amendment Rights and social media, and whether or not employers can stop employees from blogging. Our position remains the same in that agencies need to have a Social Media Policy, educate their responders on the policy, and promote good online conduct.
Source: EMS World
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