Everyone has been waiting for the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to speak. It sure took a while. The Board's Acting General Counsel issued three reports within the last 12 months. Apparently, he correctly anticipated the NLRB's position.
On September 7, 2012, in Costco Wholesale Corp., the Board invalidated Costco's posting rule which prohibited employees from making any statements that "damage the Company . . . or damage any person's reputation." The Board concluded that the policy was overbroad and could reasonably be interpreted to "chill" an employee's exercise of the right to engage in "protected concerted activity" (working conditions, etc.). That right is guaranteed to union and non-union workers by the National Labor Relations Act.
Unfortunately, as a Ballard Spahr post points out, the decision really doesn't offer much in the way of social media policy guidance. It also seems oblivious to the fact that whispering around a water cooler tends to be far less damaging to an employer than postings made on the Internet which may quickly go viral.
Hat tip to my friend Jennifer Ellis - and keep 'em coming!
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