The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) continues to send a strong message to employers that the right of both union and nonunion employees to engage in protected concerted activity extends to social media communications. Even though the Noel Canning decision calls into question the NLRB's power to issue decisions at this time, the NLRB has again addressed employees' use of social media and protected concerted activity.
In the Bettie Page Clothing case, the NLRB found that Facebook postings by employees criticizing and complaining regarding their supervisor's and upper management's improper handling of their concerns about working late in an unsafe neighborhood constituted protected concerted activity. See Design Technology Group, LLC d/b/a Bettie Page Clothing and DTG California Management, LLC d/b/a Bettie Page Clothing, Case, +359 NLRB No. 96 (April 19, 2013). The NLRB also agreed with an Administrative Law Judge's determination that the employer had committed an unfair labor practice when it wrongfully discharged the employees in connection with such postings.
Protected concerted activity extends to social media and Facebook communications when such communications involve employees gathering collectively to discuss and/or improve their wages, hours and working conditions. In doing so, the NLRB builds on two earlier decisions regarding Facebook and protected activity, Hispanics United of Buffalo and Karl Knauz Motors.
Employers should exercise caution when disciplining an employee for comments made on social media, especially if such comments involve active discussions of wages, hours and working conditions. When creating and implementing social media policies, employers should avoid broad language that prevents employees from engaging in activities protected by the NLRA.
Employee Management > Employee Privacy > Monitoring Use of Social Media Networks
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