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 and applicants to jobs, applicants to colleges and graduate schools, politicians and high school students.
Now, NPR reports that the National Labor Relations Board is stepping into the fray to protect employees from illegal retaliation for their social-networking site postings.
[In] this age of not only social media but super-social media, it’s not uncommon for employees to get in trouble over things they post on the Internet. But earlier this month, the National Labor Relations Board issued a complaint saying that an ambulance service violated the federal National Labor Relations Act by firing an employee for criticizing her supervisor on Facebook. […]
The crux of the issue as the NLRB explains it is that generally, federal law protects covered employees when they engage in “concerted activity” discussing their employment conditions, even when their union (if they have one) isn’t directly involved. The NLRB has a page where it states that this would include, among other things, “2 or more employees discussing pay or other work-related issues with each other.” […]
It’s a very odd social-media twist, indeed. Does this mean it’s important to friend at least some of your co-workers if you want to complain about your boss? Does it mean you should friend your most discontented and negative co-workers so they’ll join in? Does it mean you should hope that if you hate your boss, your co-workers also hate your boss?