The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) recently decided that an employer violated the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) when it terminated employees who complained about the conduct of their supervisor on Facebook. The case is Design Tech. Grp. LLC d/b/a Bettie Page Clothing.
The NLRA prohibits all employers, both union and non-union, from punishing employees who act together to complain about the terms and conditions of their employment (conduct referred to as “concerted activity.”) In Design Tech., the NLRB determined that a Facebook “conversation” about workplace conditions is, in and of itself, concerted activity. Based on this determination, the NLRB concluded that the law prohibited Design Tech from punishing its employees over the Facebook postings. The Board ordered the employer to reinstate the employees and pay back wages, among other remedial relief. This case is a reminder that employers must tread very carefully when taking any action based on the social media postings of its employees. Consulting with legal counsel before doing so can help an employer stay on the right side of the law.