Free Research Paper On NLRB And Social Media

Type of paper: Research Paper

Topic: Workplace, Employee, Sociology, Employment, Media, Employer, Company, Policy

Pages: 2

Words: 550

Published: 2020/12/23

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) is as an institution that protects employers’ rights pertaining to working conditions. The board is guided by the National Labor Relations Act. Beginning 2010, the board started handling cases related to employers and their social media policies. Most of the cases that the board received concerned disciplinary action handed out to employees over Facebook posts. The board set out to investigate whether social media related disciplinary actions violated federal labor laws. It was discovered that in some instances, the laws were contravened while in others, the communication was not protected and as such, the disciplinary actions did not violate the law. This is a paper on NLRB and its social media policies.
Robert Becker was a car salesman at Knauz BMW, an auto dealer in the suburbs of Chicago. In June 2010, Robert put up two Facebook posts in which he ridiculed Knauz BMW for serving cheap food during an exhibition. The company had served hot dogs and bottled water to the attendees to which Robert commented “I was happy to see that Knauz went 'All Out' for the most important launch of a new BMW in years” (Friedel, par. 4). He followed up the post with a comment saying that the cheap food would hurt their commissions. Later on in the same day, an event occurred in one of Knauz’s Land Rover dealership whereby a salesman left a thirteen year old alone in the driver’s seat after which the child drove the vehicle into a pond. Robert put up pictures of the scene on his Facebook page with the caption; “This is your car: This is your car on drugs” (Friedel, par. 4). Robert was fired from his job a week later and the NLRB filed a complaint on his behalf.
Regarding Robert’s posts, NLRB argued that his comments were protected concerted activity. The administrative law judge agreed with the NLRB on the first post because it discussed working conditions pertaining to commissions. However, he ruled that the second post was not because it didn’t address terms and conditions of employment and therefore upheld Knauz’s decision to fire him.
I agree with the court’s decision in upholding the decision to fire Robert and differ with NLRB. In the first case, Robert attacked his employer for offering cheap food to the customers. He fails to understand the purpose of the occasion or the objectives of the event organizers. It could have been that they wanted to offer light snacks instead of heavy full course meals because the event was not a feast, but rather a formal business meeting. Furthermore, Robert mocks a minor incident involving a child and implies that a car was on drugs, which cast a negative light on his employer.
All discussions pertaining to workplace conditions are supposed to be “virtual water coolers”. This analogy depicts a conversation between employees in a closed setting. Conversely, Facebook posts can be seen by thousands of people and therefore, NLRB is overstepping its mandate by defending employees fired over Facebook posts.
If the above case happened at McDonalds, where I worked before, it would create mistrust between the employer and the employees. The employees would feel that their rights to express their grievances are being infringed on, and thus deem the employer to be “sweating” them. On the other hand, the employer would not be comfortable with an employee who attacks the company at every chance that he gets. This would lead to an employee-employer conflict which would adversely affect the working relationship between the two.
I would communicate the decision to fire an employee over social media comments via a memo and explain the rationale for firing the said individual such as contravening a social media policy. I would urge employees to use formal channels to express their views rather than publicly criticizing the company over issues that may be beyond the management’s control.
Social media policy is good strategy in protecting a company’s image against disgruntled employees. One of the reasons why I would implement such a policy is to contain employees with negative attitudes about their jobs. There are employees who are either unsettled in a job or have ambitions to be someone else and as such, the job to them is just a stepping stone. Such employees always harbor negative feelings about the job and the workplace which might be detrimental for a thriving business.
Some of the things which I would include in the social media policy would to caution employees against bad mouthing the company by commenting on pertinent company issues. Secondly, I would bar all employees from mentioning members of the management in their posts and finally, I would bar uploading any work related photos except on the company’s social sites. These regulations would shield the company from unwarranted negative publicity, protect the careers of the management from distractors and keep business secrets from the competition.
Social media offers a fertile advertising platform with the potential of reaching thousands of customers. Nevertheless, without a proper and a well-coordinated social media policy, it can cause harm to an establishment. A well prepared social media policy which protects the rights of the employees is essential to ensure a good employer-employee relationship while at the same time preserving the good image of a company.


Friedel, L. (2014, April 24 ). NLRB decisions limit employer action over social media activity; Board’s rulings on social media discipline put employers in difficult situations. Retrieved from action-over-social-m

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Free Research Paper On NLRB And Social Media. Free Essay Examples - Published Dec 23, 2020. Accessed June 30, 2022.

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