Not safe to say at work
Despite everything you may have heard recently, you still can’t go on Facebook and say something like this and expect to get away with it.
“My boss is a big, old dum ass d-bag!”
That statement or any statement like it do not meet the test for protected and concerted activity. Here is how the National Labor Relations Board defines protected and concerted activity.
Protected and Concerted Activity
The National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) protects employees’ rights to engage in protected concerted activities with or without a union, which are usually group activities (2 or more employees acting together) attempting to improve working conditions, such as wages and benefits. Some examples of such activities include:
a) 2 or more employees addressing their employer about improving their working conditions and pay;
b) 1 employee speaking to his/her employer on behalf of him/herself and one or more co-workers about improving workplace conditions;
c) 2 or more employees discussing pay or other work-related issues with each other.
The NLRA also protects any individual employee’s right to engage in union support, membership, and activities.
The NLRA protects an individual employee’s right not to engage in union activities or in other protected, concerted activities.
Protected Activity, Not Free Speech
In plain english, this means that if you were to say something like, it would probably meet the above definition.
“My boss is a big, old dum ass d-bag because he treats the employees like crap. We should do something about it!”
The key difference is rather than just venting and showing your bad attitude, this comment seems to convey the notion that you are trying to do something about it as a means of protecting yourself, or as a way of improving the situation, albeit in a fairly negative way.
If someone answered back with “EffinA, we need to kick the conpanie’s ass all over downtown Anaheim!” , you are golden.
This is exactly the type of workforce situation that the NLRB is mandated to police, employees seeking to engage in mutual aid to improve their working conditions.
It’s still not free speech though, so don’t be a dummy and confuse the two!
- “Employers, Don’t Despair. Social-Media Policies Are Not Prohibited by the NLRA” and related posts (delawareemploymentlawblog.com)
- Is Bashing your Boss on Facebook Protected Activity? (hrlawyersblog.com)
- NLRB “De-Friends” Employers in Its First Complaint Based on Employee’s Social Network Comments | Publications | Proskauer (michaelvandervort.posterous.com)
- Free Speech on Facebook an Employee Right, Federal Agency Says (readwriteweb.com)
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