Jan 24, 2013
Sometimes. But you may have more protection than you think.
The National Labor Relations Board is standing up for workers' right to freely discuss their jobs, bosses and workplaces online, as long as it is "concerted activity." That means employees can tweet, post on Facebook, blog and use other social media to comment about conditions at work, without fear of retaliation or getting fired — as long as the posts are part of an online conversation between coworkers, or are intended to provoke a response from coworkers. What remains unprotected is an online personal rant that does not seek a response.
"Many view social media as the new water cooler," Mark G. Pearce, the board's chairman, noting that federal law has long protected the right of employees to discuss work-related matters, told The New York Times. "All we're doing is applying traditional rules to a new technology."
Thanks the NLRB's rulings and advisories, CWA representatives have been able to resolve social media disputes and to negotiate much better policies that have been either codified in the collective bargaining agreement or established as a mutually agreed to employer policy.