By Mike Grubbs
The NLRB continues its preoccupation with employee use of social media. Design Technology Group, LLC d/b/a Bettie Page Clothing and Vanessa Morris, 359 NLRB No. 96 (April 19, 2013)(“Bettie Page”). In Bettie Page, three employees worked at a retail clothing store in San Francisco. The store closed later than other stores in the area, and employees allegedly felt unsafe closing down when the area was already deserted. The employees took to Facebook. One of the comments stated “tomorrow I’m bringing a California Worker’s Rights book to work … BOY will you be surprised by all the crap that’s going on that’s in violation 8) see you tomorrow.” Another employee, who was friends with the employees on Facebook, forwarded screen shots of the posts to the store’s owner, who responded by terminating the employees.
The NLRB held that the employees’ posts on Facebook were protected and concerted efforts to change the store’s closing time. The NLRB rejected the employer’s argument that it terminated the employees for other unrelated misconduct, including tardiness. Finally, the NLRB ordered the employees reinstated with backpay.
The NLRB continues to “de-friend” employers with its far-flung social media decisions.