NLRB Report on Social Media Cases

By Christina Thielst
09:20 AM

The Acting General Counsel of the National Labor Relations Board released a second report  on outcome investigations involving social media that were submitted by regional offices and it underscores two main points:

  • Employer policies should not be so sweeping that they prohibit the kinds of activity protected by federal labor law, such as the discussion of wages or working conditions among employees.
  • An employee’s comments on social media are generally not protected if they are mere gripes not made in relation to group activity among employees.

I share this because I'm not sure how many of my readers even saw the first report  (Wonder if they tweeted it!).  In this report there were/was:

  • Four cases involving employees’ use of Facebook where the Division found that the employees were engaged in "protected concerted activity" because they were discussing terms and conditions of employment with fellow employees. In five other cases involving Facebook or Twitter posts, the Division found that the activity was not protected. 
  • One case where it was determined that a union engaged in unlawful coercive conduct when it videotaped interviews with employees at a nonunion jobsite about their immigration status and posted an edited version on YouTube and the Local Union’s Facebook page. 
  • Five cases where some provisions of employers’ social media policies were found to be unlawfully overly-broad and an additional case involved an employer’s lawful policy restricting its employees’ contact with the media.

These cases aren't limited to healthcare, but they will be helpful as your organization's human resource department monitors it's policies with the rapidly evolving new media.  For more, visit a related post on social media risks.

By the way, does your organization's social media policy address managers "recommending" employees on LinkedIn?  Can you think of reasons why it should?


Christina Thielst is a hospital and healthcare administrator who has been blogging since 2005. Topics covered on her blog, Christina's Considerations, include hospitals, health information technology and exchange, social media, and  telehealth.