Home > censorship, Facebook, social computing > A victory for free speech: you can insult your boss online!

A victory for free speech: you can insult your boss online!

Can you be fired for insulting your boss on Facebook? That’s what happened to an employee of a Connecticut ambulance company in 2009.  Yesterday the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has ruled that the firing was illegal. Labor laws let you discuss working conditions and salaries with others. Venting about the boss is covered. You still can be fired for releasing company secrets, but calling your boss a psychiatric case doesn’t count!  (The employee referred to her boss using the company’s code for a psychiatric patient.)

The most interesting part of Monday’s ruling is that the ambulance company agreed to revise their company policy that prohibited employees talking about the company online. It’s still not smart to go online venting about your employer. But you can imagine a future world where social media policies are used as excuses to get rid of people for minor offenses. Want to fire him and not pay severance? Check his Facebook page and see what cause you can come up with. This would have a serious chilling effect. The NLRB ruling is a big victory for free speech.

  1. Jon
    May 7, 2012 at 8:50 pm


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