The NLRB’s General Counsel’s Office’s approach to employer social media policies and the discipline of employees pursuant to such policies has been a frequent topic of this blog. In fact, just last month, I called on both the NLRB and employers to take a step back from the rhetoric on this controversial topic. Yesterday, the NLRB’s General Counsel’s Office issued another Advice Memorandum (dated April 21, 2011), which again addresses the social media topic but this time upholds the employer’s discipline of an employee for posting offensive tweets on Twitter. In Lee Enterprises, Inc., d/b/a Arizona Daily Star the charging party was the public safety reporter for the Arizona Daily Star newspaper in Tucson. The newspaper had no social media policy, but began urging its reporters to begin using social media, including twitter. In early 2010, the charging party posted a tweet that ridiculed a headline in the newspaper’s sports section. He was called into a meeting with the human resources director, who encouraged him to discuss any concerns he had rather than tweeting about them. About a week later, he met with the managing editor, who “prohibited [him] from airing his grievances or commenting about the Daily Star in any public forum. The charging party then refrained from tweeting about the newspaper itself, but in August and September 2010, he tweeted the following:

  • August 27 – “You stay homicidal, Tucson. See Star Net for the bloody deets."
  • August 30 – “What?!?!? No overnight homicide? WTF? You’re slacking Tucson.”
  • September 10 – “Suggestion for new Tucson-area theme song: Droening [sic] pool’s ‘let the bodies hit the floor’.”
  • September 10 – “I’d root for daily death if it always happened in close proximity to Gus Balon’s.”
  • September 10 – “Hope everyone’s having a good Homicide Friday, as one Tucson police officer called it.”
  • September 14 – “[FOIA Exemptions 6, 7(C)].”
  • September 15 – “[FOIA Exemptions 6, 7(C)].”
  • September 19 – “My discovery of the Red Zone channel is like an adolescent boy’s discovery of h…let’s just hope I don’t end up going blind.”

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