Employees May be Terminated Over Facebook Statuses Warns Dallas Attorney
Dallas, TX (Law Firm Newswire) January 13, 2011 – With all the news covered about family law cases and employment law cases where social networking sites are used as evidence, federal authorities have deemed it illegal, in a first case of its kind, to fire someone over posts they made on their Facebook account concerning their employer or workplace.
In one employment case, a woman who worked for the American Medical Response of Connecticut was fired for making disapproving comments about her supervisor on her Facebook page. Dawnmarie Souza, an emergency medical tech, was allegedly fired for criticizing her employer on Facebook. In response, the National Labor Relations Board stated that it was illegal to fire her over her comments on her personal Facebook page because she was communicating with her co-workers on her own time and off-site.
However, American Medical Response of Connecticut had a written employee policy that says that no employee can talk about the company or its supervisors on the Internet in any way. NLRB claims that this policy is therefore unlawful.
“Don’t be surprised to find more of these types of cases because of more and more people using Facebook and other social media as their daily interaction with friends and families,” said Ty Gomez of Gomez Law Group of Dallas.
The complaint was filed Oct. 27 by the NLRB’s Hartford, Conn., regional office. It is thought that this case can set a precedent for employers to think twice for firing or retaliating against their employees who use their social networking sites on their own time to share incidences or opinions about their working conditions.
The incident started when Souza had to prepare a response to a customer’s complaint about her work. NLRB said Souza was unhappy because her supervisor would not let a representative from the Teamsters help her prepare her response. Souza therefore logged onto her Facebook account from her home computer and commented about her experience, to which her colleagues responded in support of Souza.
Federal labor law has long protected employees from retaliation or reprisals from employers against their employees who talk among themselves about work and work conditions (even when employees aren’t protected by their union) on their own time, and NLRB’s stand is that Souza’s comment on Facebook is protected speech under federal labor law. A hearing is scheduled on Jan. 25 and to be heard by an administrative law judge.
The Gomez Law Group
14135 Midway Road
Addison, Texas 75001
- Texas Court Keeps Franchise Tax on Partnerships
The Texas Supreme Court recently ruled that a business tax does not violate the state constitution and cleared the way for lawmakers as they attempt to change the tax in 2013. The tax enacted in 2006 was the first in the state to require partnerships to pay a franchise tax, according to Bloomberg. The tax ...
- Severance Packages Should Be Closely Reviewed
As the country continues to slog through a tough economy, there are still companies choosing to downsize and many of those companies offer severance packages as a matter of policy. When an employee is let go and the company offers a severance package, there are a few things to remember about the process that could ...
- Texas Supreme Court Ruling Narrows Scope of Anti-Retaliation Law
The Supreme Court of Texas this year decided that some state employees cannot file retaliation claims if they were fired after filing for workers’ compensation. Employees of Texas political subdivisions, or government groups that are confined by a specific geographic area like a water district, are exempt from retaliation laws set up to protect workers ...