The National Labor Relations Board, an independent federal agency that began in 1935, are in charge of determining whether certain work related terminations are unlawful or not. Recently, a 42-year-old woman named Dawnmarie Souza was fired by her employer, American Medical Response when they located her Facebook profile and saw that her recent status updates consisted of her complaining about her boss. Apparently she requested something from her employer, was denied, and used some vulgar language to post about it. When her supervisors became aware of this, Souza was immediately terminated due to “multiple, serious complaints about her behavior.”
The Labor Board was not happy when they found out. A worker trash talking with another in real life is not a crime—in fact, it’s closer to a union than anything else. The Internet has become a representative of the non-virtual reality world, and in some cases has even become a lot of peoples’ “real worlds.” Because of this, Facebook posts and comments are now under a “protective status,” which means that employers can trash talk their bosses or companies all they want without feeling threatened by the potential loss of their jobs. Facebook status’ are considered free speech, and, as deemed by the Labor Board, protected by a federal agency. What does this mean to us? If anything on Facebook is considered free speech, the potential of slandering another right on their page is very real, starting what is called Facebook wars—when two or more users berate each other online and “blow up” their pages with comments, pictures, and videos. What I think we all have to realize, is that in order to be a successful society in our newly virtual world is to act with the mindfulness and respect that we exercise in our real lives on a daily basis.
- NLRB Backs Worker Fired After Facebook Flames (abcnews.go.com)
- Woman fired over Facebook rant; suit follows (msnbc.msn.com)