NLRB Rules that Facebook “Likes” are Protected By Labor Law

One provision of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) states that employees are protected from any form of employer retaliation when they commit “concerted protected activity,” which essentially means any form of activity that involves workers airing their concerns or opinions about their treatment or pay at work. A recent decision from the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) indicates that this provision includes Facebook “likes.”

The case arose when employees of Triple Play Sport Bar and Grille of Waterbury, Connecticut took to Facebook to air their grievances that the restaurant told employees they owed additional taxes because of mistakes the business made on its filings.

One employee posted a Facebook status complaining about Triple Play’s inability to file its tax paperwork correctly, with several other employees commenting and “liking” the status. When Jillian Sanzon, a waitress at the restaurant who commented on the status, returned to her shift, she was discharged for “lack of loyalty” to the company. Vincent Spinella, a cook at the restaurant who “liked” the status, was interrogated for the meaning of his “like,” which led to him being fired. Triple Play’s owner also allegedly threatened to sue Spinella for defamation.

The decision by the NLRB means that employees like Sanzon and Spinella are protected from being terminated or otherwise retaliated against when voicing their displeasure over social media websites like Facebook.  

When you believe you have been wrongfully terminated or treated unfairly at work due to perfectly legal postings or activities online, you should consult a dedicated Texas attorney with Whistleblower Law for Managers in Dallas.