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Facebook Case Update: Case Settled; Employer’s “Overly Broad” Internet Policies To Be Revised

Posted by Eric Parzianello on March 2, 2011

In an update to last month’s NLRB Facebook case story, that case has been settled. The details of the NLRB’s complaint are found in a prior post below.

The NLRB issued a press release advising that “a settlement has been reached in a case involving the discharge of a Connecticut ambulance service employee for posting negative comments about a supervisor on her Facebook page.” The NLRB alleged, among other things, that the company maintained overly broad rules in its employee handbook regarding blogging, Internet posting, and communications between employees. Under the settlement, “the company agreed to revise its overly-broad rules to ensure that they do not improperly restrict employees from discussing their wages, hours and working conditions with co-workers and others while not at work, and that they would not discipline or discharge employees for engaging in such discussions.”

Although the precise language of the original rules and the revised rules was not published, it would be surprising if the employer was not allowed to maintain a policy prohibitting its employees from referring to supervisors as “scumbags” and other vulgar names as this employee posted on Facebook. Another undisclosed aspect of this case is why the National Labor Relations Board is wasting its resources and those of a private employer in attempting to protect this type of employee behavior.

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