Describing it as a “rather novel issue,” a federal court recently held that a former employee’s public posts on his personal Facebook page did not constitute solicitation of his former co-workers under the terms of his non-solicitation agreement with his former employer. [See Pre-Paid Legal Services, Inc. v. Cahill, No. 12-CV-346, Doc. 31 (Jan. 22, 2013), Report and Recommendation affirmed and adopted, Doc. 32 (Feb. 12, 2013)] The court further noted that invitations sent to former co-workers to join Twitter were not solicitations under the agreement because the invitations did not request the co-workers to “follow” the former employee, they did not contain any information about the new employer, and they were sent by Twitter instead of as targeted email blasts by the former employee.

Though the court found that the former employee’s social networking activities did not constitute solicitation under his agreement, it did enter a preliminary injunction against the former employee based on his direct solicitation of one of his former co-workers through a private in-person meeting and follow up text messages sent to the co-worker. The court entered the injunction until the issues could be presented to an arbitrator pursuant to the parties’ arbitration agreement.


Continue Reading Facebook Posts Not “Solicitation” Under Former Employee’s Restrictive Covenant Agreement

Naked pictures? Drunken celebrations? Sexist comments? A click of a button and all evidence of your “Weekend at Bernie’s” can disappear. Job seekers know to scrub clean their Facebook pages before they connect with potential employers, to remove all trace of their off-color on-line life. But here in Ohio you can’t delete your way out

The summary judgment decision issued on October 31st by Ohio federal district court judge David Dowd in Barnett v. Aultman Hospital contains important reminders for both private employers and their employees. For employers, there is the reminder that they are not bound by the First Amendment’s protections for free speech. And for employees: Always remember to confirm that your supervisor actually has been fired before going to Facebook to celebrate.
Continue Reading Ohio Federal District Court Rejects Public Policy Wrongful Termination Claim Against Private Employer Based On First Amendment

Last week, another ALJ for the National Labor Relations Board issued a decision on a case involving an employee claim that he was unlawfully fired for comments made on a personal Facebook page. Though the ALJ upheld the employee’s termination, he also concluded that multiple employer policies were impermissibly over broad.
Continue Reading NLRB Upholds Facebook Firing but Finds Employer Policies Overbroad

On July 7 and 19, 2011, the NLRB’s Office of the General Counsel issued a series of three advice memoranda recommending the dismissal of unfair labor practice charges filed by employees who were disciplined for comments made on Facebook. In each of these charges, the employee alleged that their discipline violated Section 8(a)(1) of the National Labor Relations Act, but in each the NLRB’s General Counsel’s Office concluded that there was insufficient evidence that the employee engaged in concerted activity.


Continue Reading NLRB General Counsel Recommends Dismissal of Three Charges Contesting Discipline for Facebook Comments, Finding No Concerted Activity

On November 2, 2010, the NLRB issued a press release reporting that its Hartford, Connecticut, regional office had issued a Complaint alleging that American Medical Response of Connecticut, Inc., (“AMR”) had published an overly broad blogging and Internet posting policy that violated employee Section 7 rights, and then illegally fired an employee for negative posts about a supervisor.

As described in the Complaint, the AMR policy prohibited employees from making disparaging remarks when discussing the company or supervisors and from depicting the company “in any way” over the Internet without company permission. Such provisions, according to the NLRB’s Complaint, constitute a violation of 8(a)(1) of the National Labor Relations Act because they interfere with employees’ right to engage in protected concerted activity under Section 7 of the NLRA. (The NLRB and courts typically interpret Section 7 as protecting employees’ right to discuss the terms and conditions of their employment with other employees or even non-employees.)  The NLRB also alleged that the employer illegally fired an employee pursuant to that policy for posting negative remarks about a supervisor on Facebook, which the NLRB said drew supportive remarks from her co-workers.

 


Continue Reading NLRB Issues Complaint In Facebook Firing Case

Late last month, we reported on some employment terminations in the health care industry that were prompted by some ill-advised Facebook postings. Earlier this week, Dan Schwartz of the Connecticut Employment Law Blog noted another interesting situation brewing in his home state in the education field — where a school superintendent faces potential termination of employment for postings to his Facebook page, which only his “friends” could access.
Continue Reading Maintaining Perspective is Important in Evaluating Employee Social Media Posts

CBC News in Canada is reporting that a Canadian long-term disability insurance carrier recently terminated the long-term disability benefits a Quebec woman was receiving for "major depression" after photos she posted on her Facebook page showed her "having a good time at a Chippendales bar show, at her birthday party and on a sun holiday."