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National Labor Board Faults Firing for Facebook Posts



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    LONDON - JULY 10: In this photo illustration a girl browses the social networking site Facebook on July 10, 2007 in London, England. Facebook has been rapidly catching up on MySpace as the premier social networking website and as of July 2007 was the secondmost visited such site on the World Wide Web. Started by 22 year old Harvard dropout Mark Zuckerberg, the website is responsible for 1% of all internet traffic and is the sixth most visited site in the USA. (Photo Illustration by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

    The National Labor Relations Board said a nonprofit organization was wrong to fire five workers for Facebook postings that criticized working conditions.

    The agency also said that it had more than 20 cases involving worker complaints on the social network, the Wall Street Journal reported. The nonprofit, Hispanics United in Buffalo, N.Y., fired five employees after they "defended their work" by commenting on a Facebook post that employees didn't help clients enough. The nonprofit provided services for low-income clients.

    The decision basically reiterates the NRLB's decision on a former case that labor law lets employees discuss conditions of their employment with coworkers without retribution. In the previous case, the NLRB said the company chose to enforce "overly broad" online rules for employees. The company settled and agreed to relax the rules and not discipline or terminate employees for discussing wages or working conditions while not on the job.

    It's good that the NLRB believes that employees should be able to discuss working conditions without being fired, but I don't think as many companies have the same policy. Let's hope that more workplaces create a useful policy regarding social networks such as Facebook, and aren't as quick to terminate employees for the equivalent of meeting for a beer after work.