In this article, we continue our analysis of Protected Concerted Activity in Non-Union Workplaces.
In a case before the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), the employee, Dawnmarie, was a long-term paramedic for American Medical Response of Connecticut, Inc., an emergency medical service provider in New Haven, Connecticut. After a verbal disagreement with her supervisor at work, Dawnmarie went home and posted a negative comment about her supervisor on her private Facebook page. Dawnmarie’s post prompted replies from other employees who were friends with Dawnmarie on Facebook.
Dawnmarie was suspended the next day and ultimately fired. In making the decision to fire her, the company relied, in part, on Dawnmarie’s Facebook post, arguing that Dawnmarie violated the company’s internet policy when she criticized her supervisor online.
A charge was filed with the Hartford NLRB Regional Office alleging Dawnmarie was unlawfully fired. The charge also alleged the company’s handbook contained unlawful provisions which, among other things, prohibited employees from making negative comments about the company or supervisors.
After an investigation, the NLRB issued a Complaint alleging Dawnmarie was unlawfully fired because she engaged in protected concerted activity when she criticized her supervisor on Facebook. The Complaint also alleged that the company’s handbook contained several unlawful provisions. Prior to a hearing, the company agreed to revise the provisions in the handbook which were alleged to be unlawful. The company also reached a private settlement with Dawnmarie regarding her termination.
Takeaway: Employers must be aware of what constitutes Protected Concerted Activity in Non-Union Workplaces. Additionally, employers must ensure their handbooks are in compliance with all applicable laws.
The experienced employment and labor attorneys at Luchansky Millman can train your supervisors to be knowledgeable of Protected Concerted Activity in Non-Union Workplaces.
We also offer audits of employee handbooks. Contact our office today to ensure your handbooks are in compliance with the National Labor Relations Act and other applicable laws.