Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Finally! Lady fired for b!tching about boss on Facebook sues

Posted By on Wed, Nov 10, 2010 at 1:40 PM

Oh, boy. I've been waiting for this to happen, haven't you? See, here in America, we have a little something called the First Amendment. We can say what we want to say. Now, no, that doesn't mean that our employers have to put up with us once we do so. But! There is already established First Amendment-related law protecting employees who vent about their bosses on their own time, or even at the water cooler, as the below article points out.

So: Let the lawsuits begin.

I say bring it on. This is one of those instances where the our First Amendment rights should prevail, so long as the plaintiff can either flip the legal bill or convince attorneys, eager to argue before the Supreme Court, to go in pro bono. Because, face it folks, lawsuits are often won by the party with the fattest wallet.

From MSNBC and the Associated Press:

A Connecticut woman who was fired after she posted disparaging remarks about her boss on Facebook has prompted a first-of-its-kind legal case by federal authorities who say her comments are protected speech under labor laws.\

The National Labor Relations Board alleges that American Medical Response of Connecticut Inc. illegally fired Dawnmarie Souza from her job as an emergency medical technician late last year after she criticized her supervisor on her personal Facebook page and then traded Facebook messages about the negative comments with other employees.

The complaint, filed Oct. 27 by the board's Hartford, Conn., regional office, could set a precedent for employers to heed as more workers use social networking sites to share details about their jobs.

"It's the same as talking at the water cooler," said Lafe Solomon, the board's acting general counsel. "The point is that employees have protection under the law to talk to each other about conditions at work."

Federal labor law has long protected employees against reprisal for talking to co-workers on their own time about their jobs and working conditions, including remarks that may be critical of managers. The law applies whether or not workers are covered by a union.

Read the rest of this article, by Sam Hananel, here.

Hey bosses: Want your employees to stop bitching about you? Stop being douche bags.

Rhiannon "Rhi" Bowman is an independent journalist who contributes snarky commentary on Creative Loafing's CLog blog four days a week in addition to writing for several other local media organizations. To learn more, click the links or follow Rhi on Twitter.

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