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Free Speech About Employers on Facebook? Can You be Fired?
Freedom of Speech? isn't this America? Can you be fired for comments on Facebook about your employer?
YES to all.
There is some sort of odd illusion that just because it is America, land of the free, that employees can get on their social networking site like Facebook and say derogatory things about their employer. Well, that isn't exactly so, you can be fired by an employer. Employers do have a right to fire for such comments, but it, "depends" on the context and circumstance. It is not cut and dry many times. Employees have filed 113 cases with the National Relations Labor Board for unjust terminations. In one case, a paramedic was fired by the employer after the employee called his supervisor a "scumbag" on FB. In this case, the employer was wrong. Yet, in another case, a bartender on FB was chatting with another and called his customers "rednecks" and hoped they would choke on glass. He was fired. This time, the employer won.
What is protected employee behavior (or things they can do without being fired)?
1. Workers in a group discussing wages, conditions, or an individual who expresses these concerns of a group. Name calling but depends on the word used and in what context it is used and doe not involve any sort of threat.
What is not protected?
1, Bitching about conditions or others by yourself outside of a group.
2. Physical or verbal threats against anyone.
What is unlawful for an employer to do?
1. Stating that company policy restricts worker rights to discuss online with others their wages or conditions.
There remains a lot of murky issues for debate, they are: Specifically, when is name calling actionable by the employer? Are negative comments from a worker online from a workplace actionable or is it protected for the employee? This may be spelled out in the company's Internet use policy.