The Hartford Regional Office of the National Labor Relations Board set the labor world abuzz last fall when it issued a complaint against a Connecticut employer for discharging an employee because of her posts on Facebook. The Board claimed that the employer unlawfully discharged the employee for criticizing her supervisor, because she was exercising her federal labor law rights by discussing the terms and conditions of her employment with her co-workers on Facebook. The Board also claimed that the company’s social media policy was overly broad and unlawful because it prohibited employees from making any disparaging comments when discussing the Company, supervisors and co-workers. The case settled, however, leaving several issues unresolved.
Recently, the Board’s Division of Advice issued an Advice Memorandum addressing another case in which the employee was discharged for making comments on a social media platform. In this case, however, the Board’s Division of Advice found that the employer properly discharged the employee for misconduct. Importantly, even though the employer verbally instructed the employee to stop commenting about the company in any public forum, including all social media, before it discharged him, the Division of Advice found this was not an orally promulgated policy because it was directed only at him.
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