National Labor Relations Act Essay
By filing the complaint under Section 8(a)1 of the National Labor Relations Act with the NLRB for firing him after he posted several photos and comments on Facebook regarding incidents that happened at work. Jack believed that it was an unlawful act base on comments on his social media page and for engaging in protected concerted activity because his posts were made to improve working conditions. In his view, Jack believed that under UNFAIR LABOR PRACTICES Sec. 8. (a) that it is unfair labor practices by employers, it shall be an unfair labor practice for an employer and (1) to interfere with restrain or coerce employees in the exercise of the rights guaranteed in section 7 of the act that is a specific provision in the NLRA was broken.
This provision requires that Jack or any employees have the right to engage in protected concerted activities, this is protected by law to allow employees to form unions. Even if the employees are part of non-union states and for individuals who are not technically part of a union they are still protected. Jack’s post was a concerted activity as it was fueled by complaints by other employees to management about food and drinks that were offered at the sales event, because they were concerned that a poorly-run event would negatively impact their sales commissions, and thus their pay.
Base on the facts of this case there are a few areas that the NLRB should look at and clarify. The first is the posting of the pictures of the sale event and the truck incident on June 14th, 2014. Jack and other employees posted comments that discussed their frustration with the choice of food for the event, and they even mocked a comment made by Jack’s supervisor, in response to employees expressing concerns about the choice of food, employee’s commission, and based on the NLRA criteria this is a concerted activity in terms of their employment, and that supports the employee’s position in this case. Next is the posting of the truck incident at the company’s truck dealership with the customers, their 13-year-old son. The was embarrassing to the dealership, which did not involve fellow employees. Finally, the employee handbook rule on being courtesy and it is the responsibility of every employee to be friendly and so on, which is very vague and could infringe on the employees’ rights under section 7 of the NLRA. These rights allow employees to discuss work issues and to criticize their employers about working conditions.
The employer’s argument Jack’s post on his Facebook page had a detrimental and embarrassing effect on the dealership. They also endured negative publicity when he made light on the internet of a very serious incident that happened at work. The company fired Jack because of the content of the post dealing with the truck incident that may have shaped their image and the relationship it may have with other businesses, customers, the shareholders, and employee morale. We also see that the company thought that the sales event post was kind of funny and it played no part in the decision to fire Jack. The decision on June 21st, 2014 was based on the meeting of Dick, Bill, Harry, Sam, Pete and Bob and the truck incident dominated 90% of the conversation, because Jack made fun of the incident that could have caused serious harm to life and limb, not to mention harming the company’s reputation.
As the judge of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) there are two, but equally important issues in this case. First, we need to analyze whether the employer unlawfully fired an employee after he posted photos on Facebook page, and whether the courtesy policy in the employer’s handbook was violated or if it violated the NLRA. In the sales event Jack executed his rights within Section 7, 8(a) 1 under the NLRA and the company violated that act if this was one of the reasons for his termination. Employers also are prohibited from intentional acts that prevent collective bargaining. The truck incident was not a protected concerted activity because the pictures and comments were posted solely by Jack without any discussion or connection to any of the other employees’ terms and conditions of employment under the National Labor Relations Act Section 7 and his termination of this post did not violate the Act.
The employee handbook did not contain any language informing employees that statements protected under the Act were not prohibited under the courtesy policy. The company’s policy requires the employees to be courteous to each other, customers, vendors, and suppliers. To not be disrespectful or use language which would injure the image or reputation of the company. The language used in the courtesy statement could be broadly interpreted to prohibit protected activity, the policy violated the Act. It restricts the employees’ rights to complain about their working conditions and so the courtesy policy was unlawful.
Employers today may desire to control all aspects of a company’s social media presence. That desire, however, could conflict with employee rights protected under the National Labor Relations Act. Care should be taken to ensure the legitimate company/employer concerns about social media do not infringe employee rights (Pittman, 2015 pg.155). If a violation occurs, companies should tread carefully when looking into whether to discipline an employee for his or her social posting. The National Labor Relation Act is there to protect the employee rights in this area. Also, the term “concerted protected activity” is not defined within the NLRA, but the courts have interpreted it to clearly embrace the activities of employees who have joined together to achieve common goals relating to the terms and conditions of their employment (Semenya, 2019, 9g.80). Companies may need to take certain precautions to ensure that they are not implementing policies that can put them in troubled legal waters. Making sure that existing policies are clearly defined under Section 7 of the NLRA. This is to ensure that the policies are there to protect the company and the employee rights.