If Barrett Tryon does get fired today by Freedom Communications, as he expects, he may find the National Labor Relations Board has his back.
Tryon, a multimedia journalist at the Colorado Springs Gazette, posted on his personal Facebook timeline a link and quote from a Los Angeles Times report about the sale of his parent company, Freedom Communications.
A Gazette manager told Tryon to remove the post, citing the company’s social media policy that “prohibits you from posting disparaging or defamatory statements about the company” or “communications that might be misconstrued in a way that could damage the company’s goodwill and business reputation, even indirectly.”
Unfortunately for the Gazette, this is exactly the kind of restriction the NLRB has been labeling an “overly broad” gag order on workers’ rights.
In at least six recent cases, according to a memo from the general counsel, the independent federal agency that investigates unfair labor practices has found provisions of employer social media policies to be unlawful.
The NLRB seems particularly concerned with any restriction that might impair employees’ rights to discuss employment terms and conditions publicly or with each other. The guiding law here is Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act, which gives workers the rights to organize, unionize and bargain collectively. Read more