Answer all of your case’s questions, elaborating with logic and examples. Always add value, from the textbook, news, personal experience, or all three. Indicate the case by citing the page number, but never rewrite the question; just start answering. Write at least 600 words (no minimum for replies, but do add value). If you fail to catch errors, you will lose points (post-edit your contribution if necessary). Plagiarism will cost many points. Use of 3 references (cite correctly). APA Format.
Case Study 8-1 (Discharged for Facebook Comments)
Scenario: Betty Nelson worked as an emergency medical technician for the First Alert medical Response ambulance service in Redfern, Idaho. One day in a meeting with her supervisor, Nelson was asked to write an incident report responding to a customer’s complain concerning her service on a recent ambulance call. Nelson requested that she be allowed to meet with her local union representative prior to completing her written incident report. Nelson’s supervisor denied her request. Later that evening after Nelson’s work shift was over she returned home and posted some negative comments about her supervisor on her personal Facebook page. For example, Nelson posted that “Look like I’m getting some time off. Love how the company allows a 17 to be a supervisor.” (Note: A 17 is he company code used to describe a psychiatric patient.) The comments were by several co-workers who responded to Nelson with messages of support. Nelson then proceeded to post some additional negative comments about her supervisor on her Personal Facebook page.
The company was made aware of Nelson’s Facebook postings by an unknown source. The company temporally suspended Nelson and after confirming that the negative remarks had been posted to her Facebook page, she was terminated. The company’s termination letter cited a blogging and Internet posting policy published in the Employee Handbook which prohibited employees from making disparaging comments when discussing the company or any of its supervisors and prohibited employees from depicting the company in any way over the internet without receiving prior approval from an authorized company official.
Nelson’s union representative filed an unfair labor practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board on her behalf. The union argued that the comments Nelson made on her personal Facebook page constituted “free speech” which she was entitled to make. Employees have the right to discuss terms and conditions of employment with co-workers even if those comments might be interpreted as negative by a management official. The union further alleged that the company also committed an unfair labor practice by denying Nelson a chance to speak with her union representative during the investigatory meeting with her supervisor. Finally, the union charge that the blogging and internet policy relied upon by the company as the basis for Nelson’s discharge was overly broad in restricting employees’ use of communications media like Facebook.
1) Does an employer have any legal right to discipline or discharge an employee form comments the employee makes about the company?
2) If you were representing the company in this case and the NLRB regional director asked if you would be willing to settle the union’s charges voluntarily, would you do so or would you insist on your legal right to a formal NLRB hearing on the charges? EXPLAIN your reasoning
3) Did the company commit an unfair labor practice by (1) discharging Nelson for her Facebook postings, (2) denying Nelson an opportunity to meet with local union representative during an investigatory meeting with her supervisor, or (3) enforcing an overly broad blogging and internet use policy?