Can You Fire Someone for Disparaging Your Company on Facebook?


The debate over the First Amendment rights of the employee to post their negative feelings about a company and the rights of the company to protect its private informa tion used to skew in the employer’s favor. That has changed, however, and today the federal government counsels against restricting employees’ Internet chatter, regardless of its nature, because it may violate their First Amendment rights.

That message was delivered in a recent National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) case. In November 2009, NLRB filed a complaint against American Medical Response of Connecticut (AMR ) (NLRB v. American Medical Response of Connecticut). In this case, AMR had a social media policy which did not permit employees to depict the company in any way whatsoever over the Internet without company per mission, and which also included a Blogging and Internet Policy that prohibited employees “from making disparaging, discriminatory or defamatory comments when discussing the Company or the employee’s superiors, co-workers and/or competitors.”

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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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