Words Mean Everything: The National Labor Relations Act and Employer Social Media Policies

Source: Jon D. Bible, Labor Law Journal, Vol. 66 no. 3, Fall 2015
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…To protect their brand, employers have long regulated what employees can say and do and courts have largely given them free rein to do so. Like most employees, moreover, these two worked at-will and thus could be fired for any reason not based on a protected class or in violation of an exception to the at-will doctrine. What the owners overlooked was the fact that the National Labor Relations Act [NLRA or Act] applies to non-union employers like Triple Play; in this respect, they had a lot of company, for many employers are unaware of this. Since it got involved in this area a few years ago, moreover, the National Labor Relations Board [NLRB or Board] has aggressively enforced the right of employees to use social media to discuss, and try to change, their working conditions. Had they known all of this, the owners might have considered whether the Facebook colloquy in which the two employees engaged was protected by the Act, so that discharging them was illegal….