We’ve discussed before how data from social-networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace are being used to gather evidence in criminal trials, against employees (which can lead to lawsuits) and applicants to jobs in the US and abroad, applicants to colleges and graduate schools, politicians and high school students.
Now, Bloomberg News reports on a case concerning an ambulance service sued for firing an employee for criticizing her supervisor on Facebook. In November, the National Labor Relations Board issued a complaint (pdf), saying that American Medical Response of Connecticut Inc. violated the federal National Labor Relations Act by firing Dawnmarie Souza.
The Connecticut ambulance company that fired an employee after she criticized her supervisor on Facebook agreed to settle a case brought by the U.S. National Labor Relations Board. […]
Among the issues in the case was whether a worker has the right to criticize a boss on a site such as Facebook if co-workers add comments. The case was the first by the NLRB to assert that employers break the law by disciplining workers who post criticisms on social-networking websites. […]
Under the settlement, American Medical Response will revise its “overly broad rules” to ensure that they don’t improperly restrict employees from discussing wages, hours and working conditions with co-workers and others while not at work, and that they wouldn’t discipline or discharge employees for engaging in such discussions, the NLRB said in a statement.
The company promised that employee requests for union representation when meeting with managers won’t be denied in the future, and that employees won’t be threatened with discipline for requesting union representation, according to the agency. […]
The NLRB said the comments were a “protected, concerted activity” by an employee on behalf of others, said Doreen S. Davis, a partner in the labor and employment practice at Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP in Philadelphia. The comments added by co- workers are considered a conversation about working conditions that would be protected, she said.