Recently, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) ruled in favor of a former Pier Sixty, LLC employee who was discharged for posting comments on Facebook that contained profanity directed towards his manager and the manager’s family. Using the Triple Play test, the NLRB ruled that the employee’s actions did not cause him to lose the protection of the National Labor Relations Act and that the employee’s comment was legally protected. With this ruling, the employee has to be reinstated to his job and be made whole for any loss of earnings and other benefits.
Employers can take valuable lessons and reminders from the Pier Sixty case, including that it is imperative for employers to thoroughly address any complaints of disrespectful or degrading treatment of employees by their supervisor(s) as soon as the complaint is received from the employee. Disrespectful treatment of employees by their supervisor(s) is one of the most common reasons employees seek to organize a union. Employers should also consider seeking legal review of their workplace policies, including non-harassment and social media policies, if they have not been reviewed within the past two years to ensure all policies are thorough and up to date.
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