In a prior blog posting
we reported on a Complaint filed in October 2010 by the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) against American Response of Connecticut, Inc. (“AMR”). The Complaint alleged that AMR unlawfully terminated an employee who posted negative remarks about her supervisor on Facebook, a popular social networking site. The NLRB also alleged that AMR maintained and enforced an overly broad social networking policy that violated the employee’s rights under the National Labor Relations Act.
In February 2011, the NLRB settled the case with AMR. As part of the settlement, AMR agreed to revise its internet policy to permit employees to discuss terms and conditions of employment outside of the workplace. AMR also agreed to refrain from disciplining or firing employees for engaging in the aforementioned communications.
The NLRB’s filing of this Complaint and the recent settlement have sparked discussions in the labor and employment law community regarding social networking policies and employers’ use of information obtained from social networking websites to render employment decisions. Given the NLRB’s pro-labor approach and recent interest in the impact of social networking on employment, employers should implement appropriate social networking policies and ensure that decision-makers understand the potential liabilities in this area.
* Special thanks to Douglas Florence who contributed to this posting.