Protected activities, NLRA, and social media considerations

A Wisconsin employee can make their feelings about an employer known quite easily in today’s social media world. However, a social media rant could be a bad idea. A Yelp employee in San Francisco was recently fired after a blog post that described the alleged financial challenges and training inadequacies for low-level workers in the company. In fact, the firing occurred on the same day that the post was made, but Yelp has not explained the reason for the firing.

Although many companies create policies prohibiting negative social media activity involving the employers, such policies have begun to face court challenges in connection with the National Labor Relations Act, which is in place to protect certain worker activities. In the case of the Yelp employee, there could be some problems for the company because of the nature of the blog post. A concerted activity could be protected if two or more individuals are acting together or if one individual acts in order to benefit their co-workers. However, it is important that such activity be designed to facilitate improvements in the work environment. Additionally, protections are not maintained if the activity in question is malicious or reckless.

Employee rights can be an area of confusion, especially for those who lack representation in their work environments. Unions often provide the framework for protecting the wages and benefits of employees, but those who lack unions can still work to become better educated about protected activities to ensure that lines are not crossed by their employers.

An individual who believes that their workplace rights have been violated through discipline, firing, or other actions might want to discuss the situation with a lawyer. This may provide direction for assembling evidence of discriminatory practices and for filing formal complaints.

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