Can Complaining About Your Boss on Facebook Get You Fired?

By Mikal E. Belicove|For|January 27, 2011

Here’s a question for the water cooler crowd: Can complaining about your supervisor on Facebook get you fired? Can a status update change the status of your employment?

I’ve opined in the past about the dangers and drama of authoring and then posting job-related commentary on Facebook or other socially engaging online properties (see Pitfalls of Using Social Media as an HR Tool). But now the legal eagles from the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) are sinking their talons into the topic. It seems an employee of an ambulance service in Hartford, Conn., posted some negative commentary about her supervisor on Facebook following a work-related spat. It probably didn’t help that the employee received supportive responses back from her co-workers.

The woman was fired as a result of the online onslaught and last October, took her case to the NLRB. The labor board subsequently filed a complaint alleging that American Medical Response of Connecticut, Inc. — the ambulance service — illegally terminated the employee for initiating the Facebook faceoff. The board’s complaint also claims the company illegally denied the employee’s request for representation from her union, Teamsters Local 443, and furthermore, “maintained and enforced an overly broad blogging and Internet posting policy.”

The NLRB’s internal probe of the incident found that the employee’s Facebook posts were…

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