Right To Trash Talk Your Boss And/Or Company On Facebook May Soon Be Protected By Law

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Odds are, the urge to talk shit about your boss or firm on Facebook have struck at least once or twice. But despite the fact that the jackhole really had it coming, or that all of your friends and acquaintances you haven't spoken to since third grade really needed to know that whoever stocks the snacks in your pantry has been slipping and you've just about had it with this shithole, you held your tongue. Well thanks to the courageousness of one young woman, a precedent may be set wherein you can take to the Good Book and rail all you want about the insufferable prick who insists every mundane task must be charted out on a dry erase board when a simple 30 second conversation would suffice, and who you strongly suspect was dropped on his head with alarming frequency as a child.

In what labor officials and lawyers view as a ground-breaking case involving workers and social media, the National Labor Relations Board has accused a company of illegally firing an employee after she criticized her supervisor on her Facebook page. This is the first case in which the labor board has stepped in to argue that workers’ criticisms of their bosses or companies on a social networking site are generally a protected activity and that employers would be violating the law by punishing workers for such statements.

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The case involves Dawnmarie Souza, who had to prepare a response to a customer’s complaint about her work. Ms. Souza, the board said, was unhappy that her supervisor would not let a representative of the Teamsters, the union representing the company’s workers, help prepare her response. Ms. Souza then mocked her supervisor on Facebook, using several vulgarities to ridicule him, according to Jonathan Kreisberg, director of the board’s Hartford office, which filed the complaint. He also said she had written, “love how the company allows a 17 to become a supervisor” — 17 is the company’s lingo for a psychiatric patient.

The labor board said that her comments “drew supportive responses from her co-workers” and led to further negative comments about the supervisor. Mr. Kreisberg said: “You’re allowed to talk about your supervisor with your co-workers. You’re allowed to communicate the concerns and criticisms you have. The only difference in this case is she did it on Facebook and did it on her own time and her own computer.”

In the unlikely event your firm chooses not to adopt the rule but you still really need to get some frustrations off your chest, feel free to voice your gripes on-site, face to face.

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