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  • Do Not Be Surprised If Employers Fire Over Facebook Statuses Warns Dallas Attorney

Do Not Be Surprised If Employers Fire Over Facebook Statuses Warns Dallas Attorney

With  all the news covered about family law cases and employment law cases  where social networking sites are used as evidence, federal authorities  have deemed it illegal, in a first case of its kind, to fire someone  over posts they made on their Facebook account concerning their employer  or workplace.

In  one employment case, a woman who worked for the American Medical  Response of Connecticut was fired for making disapproving comments about  her supervisor on her Facebook page. Dawnmarie Souza, an emergency  medical tech, was allegedly fired for criticizing her employer on  Facebook. In response, the National Labor Relations Board stated that it  was illegal to fire her over her comments on her personal Facebook page  because she was communicating with her co-workers on her own time and  off-site.

However,  American Medical Response of Connecticut had a written employee policy  that says that no employee can talk about the company or its supervisors  on the Internet in any way. NLRB claims that this policy is therefore  unlawful.

“Don’t  be surprised to find more of these types of cases because of more and  more people using Facebook and other social media as their daily  interaction with friends and families,” said Ty Gomez of The Gomez Firm  of Dallas.

The  complaint was filed Oct. 27 by the NLRB’s Hartford, Conn., regional  office. It is thought that this case can set a precedent for employers  to think twice for firing or retaliating against their employees who use  their social networking sites on their own time to share incidences or  opinions about their working conditions.

The  incident started when Souza had to prepare a response to a customer’s  complaint about her work. NLRB said Souza was unhappy because her  supervisor would not let a representative from the Teamsters help her  prepare her response. Souza therefore logged onto her Facebook account  from her home computer and commented about her experience, to which her  colleagues responded in support of Souza.

Federal  labor law has long protected employees from retaliation or reprisals  from employers against their employees who talk among themselves about  work and work conditions (even when employees aren’t protected by their  union) on their own time, and NLRB’s stand is that Souza’s comment on  Facebook is protected speech under federal labor law. A hearing is scheduled on Jan. 25 and to be heard by an administrative law judge.

The Gomez Firm is a Dallas employment lawyer and Dallas business lawyer. To learn more, visit http://www.gomezlawyers.com.