Facebook Posts and Employment Decisions:


Stories abound about the possible repercussions of sharing pictures, stories, and opinions on blogs and Facebook posts. Not uncommon is the temptation to vent frustrations from the office to family and friends using the latest social media platforms. Giving in to such temptation may, however, result in even more frustrations. Such was likely the case for a Connecticut ambulance service employee who was fired for calling her supervisor a "scumbag" on a personal Facebook page posting.

American Medical Response, Inc. of Connecticut ("AMR"), as part of the blogging and internet posting policy contained in its Employee Handbook, prohibited employees from "making disparaging, discriminatory, or defamatory comments when discussing the Company or the employee's superiors, co-workers, and/or competitors." So when an AMR employee posted negative comments about her supervisor on her Facebook page, described as including profanity and referring to her supervisor as a "psychiatric patient" and "scumbag," she was terminated.

The woman was a union member and her termination was reported to the National Labor Relations Board ("NLRB"). Upon investigation, the NLRB issued a complaint against AMR, alleging that AMR and its overreaching policy violated a worker's protected right to discuss working conditions with other employees. This is known as "protected concerted activity."

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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