As an employer, you have hands in many places. Among setting sales, marketing, and operational strategies, are the tasks of hiring and managing employees. Your employees may be great, but they’re not perfect. Misunderstandings can happen and they may not think to approach you with issues they may have. Instead, they may share their disdain for what’s going on in the workplace on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. As we all know, nothing is really private on social media and things have a way of getting out. You may be furious about an employee making negative comments about your company. You may even want to fire them, but it’s not that simple.
The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) protects an employee’s right to make certain comments on social media, but there are limits. Under NLRB guidelines, employees are allowed to make statements (including negative ones) on Facebook in regards to working conditions and pay. They consider this a “concerted activity” in which you are engaging co-workers, assuming they are among your Facebook friends, in an effort to improve working conditions or pay. To better understand whether or not you can take action against an employee that has made negative comments about your company on a social media platform, contact one of the attorneys for employers in Tampa at Trent Cotney P.A.
However, not everything an employee says on Facebook is protected. Non-protected speech includes:
- Slanderous comments about an employer or a co-worker
- Comments that are discriminatory, racist or sexist in nature.
- Posting negative comment on a social media platform that are not being shared with co-workers (your co-workers are not connected to you on the platform where you made the comments.)
These guidelines only cover negative comments being made about an employer on social media. There are other scenarios in which an employer would be within their right to terminate an employee:
- Sharing internal company information
- Posting inappropriate content on a company’s social media platform
- Posting on a social media platform while at work or on company-owned devices.
If there is a scenario not covered here that you have a question about, contact an employer defense attorney in Tampa to discuss the matter further.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.