Disciplining or firing employees for social media missteps could get a lot more complicated. 

We all know that employees can be fired for posting certain negative comments about their company online.

But what about just “liking” a post?

That’s the question being asked by the the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) about the Triple Play Sports Bar in Connecticut.

Triple Play allegedly fired one of its waitresses and a cook after they  “liked” and commented on a post put on the waitress’ Facebook wall that called out Triple Play’s management for making a mistake on employees’ tax paperwork.

Triple Play countered that it fired the workers for violating important company policies. The NLRB has yet to come to a decision.

Gathering around the cyber water cooler

This isn’t the first time firing a worker for “liking” a post has come up for questioning: Last October, an appeals court heard a case involving a employees at a sheriff’s office who refused to support the sheriff’s run for reelection — and even expressed their discontent by “liking” the sheriff’s opponent’s Facebook page.

When the sheriff was reelected, he refused to reappoint the workers. They sued, claiming the sheriff violated their right to free speech under the First Amendment.

The appeals court ruled that a Facebook “like” protected just as much as any written word.

How’s that different from this current case? This is the first time a private employer has come under fire for the same issue.

The NLRB is most concerned with whether online interactions and conversations still count as protected, concerted speech the same way discussing work and terms of employment around the water cooler is.

Most companies generally have separate policies and standards about online activity, but, depending on how the case is ruled, those policies may have to be tweaked.

In the mean time, we’ve got our eyes on this case. We’ll keep you posted when a decision is reached, though you may not “like” the outcome.

Post Your Resume to 65+ Job Sites
Resume Service

Post to Twitter Tweet This Post