1) Does an employer have any legal right to discipline or discharge an employee for the comments the employee makes about the company? It can be done, but depends on the comments and why they were posted. The NLRB does have rules regarding this type of activity. For instance, you can be legally terminated if: 1) the postings are an expression of an individual grievance, 2) there was no suggestion that the individual was seeking group action, or 3) there was no prior discussion concerning terms and conditions of employment with co-workers. 2) If you were representing the company in this case and the NLRB regional director asked if you would be willing to settle the union’s charges voluntarily, would you do so or would you insist on your legal right to a formal NLRB hearing on the charges?
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Explain your reasoning. I would insist on a formal hearing due to the fact that there was a policy in the Employee Handbook prohibiting employees from “making disparaging comments when discussing the company or any of its supervisors and prohibited employees from depicting the company in any way over the Internet without receiving prior approval from an authorized company official” (Holley, Jennings, & Wolters, 2012, p.377).
3) Did the company commit an unfair labor practice by (1) discharging Nelson for her Facebook postings, (2) denying Nelson an opportunity to meet with her local union representative during an investigatory meeting with her supervisor, or (3) enforcing an overly broad blogging and Internet policy? It is my opinion that the company was within its legal right to dismiss Nelson and that there was no unfair labor practice committed.
The policy was clearly stated in the Employee Handbook and Nelson chose to post derogatory comments on a social network anyway. I feel that if an employee has something to say about their company, supervisors, or other employees, it is best done in a formal and professional manner. I don’t think that anyone needs to air their
dirty laundry (or that of others) on a social networking site.