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Social Media Policies, Concerted Activity and Hr Management

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Week 2 Case Study: Social Media Policies, Concerted Activity and HR Management

1. The NLRB has made findings regarding the use of employee posts on Social Media sites to discipline or terminate those employees. Typically these cases occur when an employee posts "negative" information about their current employer or boss. Sometimes these are "public" and other times the employer uses "spies" or "fake friending" to see the Facebook page of the employee. Find at least one case or article online regarding this topic, and briefly explain the facts of the case, and the determination of the NLRB as to whether the employee was properly or improperly disciplined or terminated as a result of their use of Social Media to complain about, criticize, or publicly bash their company or boss.

In the State of Washington, five employees were fired for posting a YouTube video complaining about the hazardous working conditions they were working in. These five men, who were immigrants from El Salvador, were constructing concrete foundations on what was contaminated soil, filled with arsenic and other harmful toxins. These men had never received the proper training to work in these types of conditions although they were required by their employer, Rain City, to wear badges stating that they were. In July of 2008, three of the five men posted a video where the men were voicing their concerns about the dangerous working conditions and what it was like to work for the contractor. Approximately 2 weeks after the video was posted, the three men were fired along with two other employees who were also thought to be involved. After the five men and been terminated, the company continued to threaten and interrogate other employees warning them to not discuss the working conditions to anyone outside of the company walls.

The NLRB determined that the YouTube video was protected because the employees stated their concerns about life safety, which is a Protected Concerted Activity. A complaint was then issued and the case was sent to court. In June of 2009, the court proceedings began. The opening statements were heard and on the morning of the second day, Rain City Contractors decided to settle the case by providing full back pay to the five employees for the period from their initial termination to the settlement date. This video was actually shown during one of the safety classes I recently attended regarding contaminated soil.

2. Do you agree with the decision of the NLRB or court in the case you describe in question #1 above? Why or why not?

I do agree with the decision of the NLRB. The working conditions that these men were working in was life threatening and very dangerous. Had the employees used the proper company channels, they most likely would have been fired and nothing more about the site conditions would have been known to the public. Being in the construction industry myself, I realize the importance of being safe on the job. Being for El Salvador, the men might not have known what or who to contact regarding the working conditions.

OSHA should have been involved. This is a crime and I feel that Rain City Contractors should be heavily fined because they hid important information regarding



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