Update: NLRB settles case about Facebook activity

February 23, 2011, 02:58 PM

As we wrote about late last year, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) filed an unfair labor practice claim against a Connecticut ambulance company that fired an employee after she posted comments critical of her boss on Facebook. The parties have avoided a hearing on that claim by entering into a global settlement. Under the terms of the settlement with the NLRB, the company agreed to change its blogging and internet policy that prohibited employees from disparaging the company or its supervisors. The company also agreed to revise another policy that prohibited employees from depicting the company in any way on the internet. The NLRB’s position was that these policies interfered with National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) protections that allow employees to discuss wages, hours, and working conditions with co-workers. The company also entered into a private settlement with the terminated employee. While the terms were not disclosed, the NLRB explained that the parties reached a financial settlement that did not include reinstatement of the terminated employee. This result may serve to reinforce the NLRB’s position, and it bears watching whether the NLRB files more claims like this against employers in the future. If so, don’t be caught unprepared: review your policies and tailor them as appropriate. –David J. Sullivan