Two employees were fired from an organization for posts that they made on
Twitter. They both decided to hire a local lawyer specializing in employment law. The lawyer requested a meeting to see if satisfactory arrangements can be made for these two terminated employees before they file charges with the NLRB, saying they were terminated unlawfully. Section 8(a)1 will be cited for the violation.*
In preparation for the meeting, the CEO asks the HR Director for a briefing on each terminated employees case. She wants to know the following for both Mr. Doe and Ms. Smith:
1) We don't have a union. Why is the attorney talking about the NLRA?
2) The two workers bad-mouthed the company on Facebook, right? How does that relate to the NLRA? What are the legal criteria in the NLRA?
3) If the NLRB pursues this, what will be the company's legal argument(s) to justify each termination?
4) What will each employee argue?
5) Are we likely to win? What should I tell the attorney when I meet with him?
Termination Reasons from Supervisor Jason Andrews:
--This is the first offense for both employees.
Mr. Evans: posted disparaging comments about the company on Twitter. He mocked the provisions of the promotional sales event.
Ms. Smith: posted disparaging comments about another division of the company on Twitter. She mocked the accident at the Glassway site, which handles commercial buildings
--Both employees have signed the employee handbook. Here are the relevant sections.
Section 5: Employment at Will
Employment is on an at-will basis. A written contract, signed by the CEO of the company, is needed to change that status.
Section 8: Courtesy Policy
Courtesy is the responsibility of every employee. Everyone is expected to be courteous, polite and friendly to our customers, vendors and suppliers, as well as to their fellow employees. No one should be disrespectful or use profanity or any other language which injures the image or reputation of the company.
Twitter Posts from both employees below:
Mr. Doe: The title of the posting is "Why my commission is so low!"
How can I earn a decent living when they "promote" an upscale development like Oceanview Estates with paper plates, plastic forks, and bottled water!" The units are really nice—wouldn't mind having one myself, but the brochures look as cheap as our faded, write-your-own-name business cards. (They don't print our names because people don't stay.) When I told them this in a staff meeting, my boss flashed me another dirty look. Other sales reps echoed the concern. I asked how we can get the PR materials changed, but Warden Andrews just snarled, "I think there is an opening in the marketing department, Mr. Doe. Or, maybe you'd like selling for Portland Enterprises instead." I didn't get any leads from this event. I've about had it with this place. It sucks!
Following his post were comments from family and friends, a few of whom are co-workers. "Sounds awful!" "Hope it gets better!" "Maybe Andrews is the one who needs to go!" "I'm with you on that!"
Ms. Smith: The title of the posting is: "A slam dunk!"
Did you hear the newest way to impress a customer? The Sales Manager at JM - Glassway Commercial Division was escorting a prospective client for the vacant shop in the complex east of town. He took the buyer to the shop by golf cart, part of the quaint atmosphere in that community. When he rounded the pond in front of the store, he took the curve too fast and--plop! He threw his client into the mud! Her briefcase fastballed to the water's edge, hovered a second, then drown out of sight.
Following her post were comments from family, friends, and colleagues from previous jobs in the industry. "I hope she wasn't hurt." "What happened to Speedy?" "Isn't that just standard operating procedure for that crew?" "Remind me never to ride with him!"
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