New York Judge Rules in Favor of Five Employees Fired for Facebook Comments

Paul Lilly

Common sense dictates that if you log into a social network and start complaining about your place of employment, you risk receiving a pink slip from the powers that be. That's exactly what happened to five employees who ended up fired from Hispanics United of Buffalo, who ended up suing their company, and won.

An Administrative Law Judge found that the Buffalo nonprofit organization was in the wrong for firing employees over Facebook comments, a ruling that's a first of its kind, according to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) . NLRB says it started when an employee overheard a coworker criticize other employees for not working hard enough on the behalf of the organization's clients. The employee then posted those comments on her Facebook wall, and it didn't take long for fellow workers to chime in and defend their work ethics and bemoan working conditions. All five who participated in the Facebook discussion were shown the door.

Administrative Law Judge Arthur Amchan ultimately ruled that their discussion was protected under Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act since it involved coworkers talking about their terms and conditions of employment. The judge then order Hispanics United to reinstate all five employees, with backpay, and to post a notice at its Buffalo location outlining employee rights under the Act.

Imagine the first day back for all five employees. Can we say awkward?

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