Human Resources News & Insights

How NOT to respond to an employee’s posting on Facebook

It’s true, the National Labor Relations Board has been pretty nitpicky about how companies respond to employee posts on social media. But the action this company took was just plain dumb.  

The case involves an ambulance company in Maryland.

Chelsea Zalewski and William Norvell were partners at Butler Medical Transport. After she was let go, she posted on Norvell’s Facebook page:

Well no longer a butler employee…Gotta love the fact a “professional” company is going to go off what a dementia pt says and hangs up on you when you are in the middle of asking a question.

Norvell — along with at least one other Butler employee — put up his own posts: one suggesting that Zalewski “think about getting a lawyer and taking them to court” and later adding, “You could contact the labor board too.”

Word of Norvell’s posts got back to Butler HR director Ellen Smith, who consulted with COO William Rosenberg. They decided to terminate Norvell’s employment.

And Norvell filed a complaint with the NLRB.

Surprise! The NLRB spanked the employer for firing an employee for engaging in what was clearly “protected activity.”

Hard to imagine, in this era of NLRB activism — especially on the social media front — that an employer would be clueless enough to take such action. The company might well have gotten away with this move a decade ago, but today? Makes no sense.

You can read the NLRB ruling here.

And in other NLRB news …

Your workforce now has a new avenue to check on their rights to unionize under the National Labor Relations Act.

The NLRB recently announced the launch of a new mobile app, available free of charge for iPhone and Android users.

“With this app, we are using 21st Century technology to inform and educate the public about the law and their rights,” said NLRB Chairman Mark Gaston Pearce in a press release.

The app provides information for employers, employees and unions, with sections describing the rights enforced by the National Labor Relations Board, along with contact information for NLRB regional offices across the country.  The app also details the process the NLRB uses in elections held to determine whether employees wish to be collectively represented.

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