Labor & Employment Law
Labor Board Settles Suit of Woman Fired Over Facebook Posts Criticizing Her Boss
Posted Feb 8, 2011 12:10 PM CST
By Rachel M. Zahorsky
Online rants about your boss may be protected speech under federal labor laws, according to a settlement reached Monday between the National Labor Relations Board and a Connecticut ambulance company.
The suit against American Medical Response of Connecticut alleged that the company fired employee Dawnmarie Souza after she posted negative comments about her boss on Facebook, the New York Times reports.
Although the company contends Souza’s departure was due to complaints about her work, the labor board argued that the company’s restrictive blogging and Internet policy—which barred workers from disparaging the company and supervisors or depicting the company on the Web without permission—interfered with long-standing legal protections of workers to discuss wages, hours and working conditions among colleagues.
Private settlement terms were not disclosed, however the parties did reach a financial agreement and Souza will not be returning to work at the company, according to the Associated Press. In addition, the company will revise its Internet policy.