NLRB challenges Facebook-related EMT firing

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    The National Labor Relations Board has filed a landmark legal challenge on behalf of an emergency medical technician who was dismissed from her job in part because of critical statements she made about her employer on Facebook. The employee made her initial comments on Facebook after her employer refused to permit a representative of the EMTs' union to assist her in preparing her response to a customer complaint about her work. Many of her coworkers (who were supportive) joined her in a Facebook discussion criticizing the decision, the manager who made it, and the company.

    Here's a link to the story: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/09/bu...me&ref=general

    This case in particular focuses on the legal provisions that allow employees (both union and non-union) to discuss work conditions, wages, and unionization without being punished by their employers. But while the scope of this case may be limited, depending on the way it is handled, it may also open the floodgates to a broad variety of challenges and even prompt the creation of new laws. Any thoughts?
  2. 18 Comments so far...

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    i think you should be able to critique your employer openly, lord knows they cirtique you in front of your peers at their will. i once heard of a nicu nurse gettin canned at nmmc in mississippi for takin a picture of herself holding a rat by the tail at her work site and putting it on facebook. however, until some worker saftey laws are passed concerning this stuff you have to watch what you put on your twitter.
    MissPiggy, gymnut, and lindarn like this.
  4. 12
    You mean UNIONS!! The South is in desparate need of them!

    JMHO and my NY $0.02.
    Lindarn , RN, BSN, CCRN
    Somewhere in the PACNW
    SilentfadesRPA, drmorton2b, CCL RN, and 9 others like this.
  5. 2
    Quote from TDCHIM
    This case in particular focuses on the legal provisions that allow employees (both union and non-union) to discuss work conditions, wages, and unionization without being punished by their employers. But while the scope of this case may be limited, depending on the way it is handled, it may also open the floodgates to a broad variety of challenges and even prompt the creation of new laws. Any thoughts?
    About damned time.
    canoehead and lindarn like this.
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    I think its a risky business in todays world putting very much in personal information up on FB. For me I, believe less is better. Thanks for the link.
    Otessa, ::Goodie::, Conqueror+, and 1 other like this.
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    I believe the less personal information put up on FB the better, especially in the current employment environment. Thanks for the link.
    SilentfadesRPA and lindarn like this.
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    I have mixed feelings on this subject. As a libertarian I am strongly opposed to government restrictions on freedom of speech AND freedom of private employers to hire/fire employees who do things that harm their business.

    There are legal and tactful ways of disagreeing with your employers without posting it for the world to see. I think anyone who doesn't understand the public nature of the internet maybe shouldn't use it to make denigrating comments until they can figure out how to do so privately.

    Companies routinely fire employees for poor hygiene, using rude language or cursing in front of customers, bad attitudes verbally expressed constantly to co-workers etc. They are all hurtful to the company. Bad comments posted on the Internet can be too. We have a professional code of conduct at our hospital that we agree to when we are employed that includes not denigrating the employer in a public format. Most professionals have similar contracts with their employers. "Public formats" obviously include FB and other social websites.

    I have always been able to freely voice my opinion at work without needing a union to support me. But I do it in a professional manner. Haven't been fired yet, and believe me I am very blunt about what I disagree with. I just bring it up in the proper setting, in the proper manner, without resorting to name calling like an elementary school child.

    I really do sympathize for a person who has lost their job for this but we do have to have personal accountability for our words and actions. Hopefully, they will learn from this and go on to get an even better job!
    nurse0520, Spidey's mom, leslie :-D, and 9 others like this.
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    Quote from ScrappyEDRN
    Companies routinely fire employees for poor hygiene, using rude language or cursing in front of customers, bad attitudes verbally expressed constantly to co-workers etc. They are all hurtful to the company. Bad comments posted on the Internet can be too. We have a professional code of conduct at our hospital that we agree to when we are employed that includes not denigrating the employer in a public format. Most professionals have similar contracts with their employers. "Public formats" obviously include FB and other social websites.
    Yes, but do they own our free time too, and to what extent?

    I think it's definitely foolish for a number of reasons to put too much information up on the internet about oneself, BUT I do not think that an employer has rights to what employees produce or create or do in their free time with a few exceptions (HIPAA, off-work behaviors that impact the ability to function on the job). It will be interesting to see what comes of this case.
    nurse0520, TickyRN, lindarn, and 1 other like this.
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    Quote from hiddencatRN
    Yes, but do they own our free time too, and to what extent?

    I think it's definitely foolish for a number of reasons to put too much information up on the internet about oneself, BUT I do not think that an employer has rights to what employees produce or create or do in their free time with a few exceptions (HIPAA, off-work behaviors that impact the ability to function on the job). It will be interesting to see what comes of this case.
    (Bolding mine)

    Exactly so! Right now there is a lack of legislation clarifying what rights employees retain in what has become a 24-hour workplace and a private life that's more and more conducted in (virtual) public. Employers have been VERY quick to step in and up the ante on employees. First came the 24-hour work demands, then the 24-hour availability via phone/text/email/IM/Skype/whatever, then the creeping employer control over what we may say and do during our time outside the office. There is a balance to be struck between what employers can reasonably expect of their employees and what employees can reasonably expect to do during their off-hours without repercussions. At the moment, the vast majority of the weight appears to be loaded into the employers' side of the scale.

    This isn't the ideal test case, IMO, but at least it's a start in getting people to think and advocate for reasonable laws. As other cases appear, a consensus will eventually emerge. I just hope it's a real consensus, not a bought-and-paid-for-by-lobbyists consensus.
    canoehead, Chico David RN, Altra, and 3 others like this.
  11. 1
    whoa!
    lindarn likes this.


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