Have 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.”