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Lessons From the Facebook Firing

Melissa Klein Aguilar | February 23, 2011

A settlement with the National Labor Relations Board in the high-profile “Facebook firing” case has turned conventional wisdom on corporate policies that govern employee use of the Internet and social media on its ear.

The language in those policies could now get employers in trouble with the NLRB. American Medical Response of Connecticut Inc. agreed to settle a complaint filed by the board's Hartford office after it fired Dawnmarie Souza for posting negative comments about a supervisor on her personal Facebook page.

Under the settlement, the company agreed to revise its “Blogging and Internet Posting Policy,” which the NLRB alleged improperly restricted employees' rights. The policy language at issue prohibited employees “from making disparaging, discriminatory, or defamatory comments when discussing the company or the employee's superiors, coworkers, and/or competitors.” The NLRB also alleged that Souza's firing violated federal labor law because she was engaged...

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