cpu black womanHave you ever had the urge to bitch about your employer with your coworkers via Twitter or Facebook, but you didn’t out of fear of retaliation? Well, fear not, according to the The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), you are now free to bitch and moan and you won’t get punished for it. On Tuesday, the New York Times reported:

“The National Labor Relations Board says workers have a right to discuss work conditions freely and without fear of retribution, whether the discussion takes place at the office or on Facebook.”

The Times report also stated that the NLRB will enforce an end to broad and restrictive social media policies and companies will have to rehire workers fired for social media comments. Companies like GM, Costco and Target have already been told to revamp their social media policies:

“Many view social media as the new water cooler,” said Mark G. Pearce, the board’s chairman, noting that federal law has long protected the right of employees to discuss work-related matters. “All we’re doing is applying traditional rules to a new technology.”

But, to be clear, the NLRB has stated that it is permissible for employers to act against that lone ranger employee (one without coworkers joining in on the bitchfest) for ranting on the internet. The message they’re giving loud and clear is that there is safety in numbers, when it comes to complaining about your employer via social media, don’t do it by your lonesome or you’ll be assed out and possibly fired with no ground to stand on.

Plenty of people are not pleased by this new ruling. “The board is using new legal theories to expand its power in the workplace,” said Randel K. Johnson, senior vice president for labor policy at the United States Chamber of Commerce. “It’s causing concern and confusion.”

What do you think about the new ruling? Have you ever complained about your employer online?

8 Comments

  1. kaybee

    It makes sense. Although you have hundreds of friends on FB it doesn’t mean you want your employer stalking your FB page. I personally don’t engage in publicly bashing my job so I have no worries.

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  2. ChaCha1

    I still don’t understand the part where one person can be fired, unless they participate in a conversation with another person.

    Certain conversations, I just wouldn’t have on FB or Twitter because there’s always someone watching, and also, sometimes the people you think are on your side are not.

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  3. Misshightower

    Don’t kid yourself…….

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  4. What ever happened to just going to HR to voice a complaint?

    I’ve never been afraid to express dissatisfaction in something, but full on rants? No one really wants to read that. Handle the issue like an adult and spare everyone else the additional “I need attention” drama post

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    • J. Nicole you are an idiot if you think that HR is here to help the employees. HR main concern is to look out for the company.

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  5. Ahhh this article was heavily generalized and the headline exaggerated. I’m sorry this is making me cringe because it’s borderline misinformation.

    You have to be careful dealing with this particular topic. 1)It’s still being debated thus nothing is set in stone. Everyone works at GM, Costco and Target now? 2) No you don’t have a right to complain about your employer. Although it looks like we can “complain” about our employers technically the complaining their talking about is not what most people do. You didn’t cite any of the examples from the article, especially Ms. Cole-Rivera. If there are conditions within your workplace that are less than ideal then yea you have a right to voice those opinions within reason says the NLRB:

    In regards to private sector companies it “is illegal to adopt broad social media policies — like bans on “disrespectful” comments or posts that criticize the employer — if those policies discourage workers from exercising their right to communicate with one another with the aim of improving wages, benefits or working conditions”

    However, there is one BIG stipulation: you do not have the right to bash, make threats, use violent and expletive language, nor slander someone. These days complaining seems to fall under all of those previous categories. “My boss denied my time off, she’s a lonely, bitter bish who needs (insert your choice of male anatomy). If we were on the street I’d eff her up blah blah blah” No, you don’t have the right to do the that.

    I highly suggest everyone reads that article a couple times, because this clutch article isn’t saying what the NYT reported. This article was an announcement saying its ok to complain about your employer. Please don’t complain about your employer unless it’s related to work conditions and even then it’s wiser to go to a board or organization that specializes in representing workers.

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    • camille

      You make some compelling points, although I believe they fall under the category of common sense. I’m pretty sure violent threats and slander will never be protected

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    • Bonita

      Unfortunately, common sense ain’t so common…

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