The National Labor Relations Board sued a Connecticut ambulance service last year, after it fired an emergency medical technician (EMT) who voiced opinions the company took issue with on Facebook. Her comments may have been negative, the NLRB argued, but they were protected speech under federal labor laws.
On Monday, the government agreed, settling the lawsuit against American Medical Response of Connecticut. The company agreed to change its blogging and Internet policy, which had barred workers from disparaging the company or its supervisors. The company also will revise another policy that prohibited employees from depicting the company in any way over the Internet without permission.
“I think it certainly sends a message about what the NLRB views the law to be,” said Jonathan Kreisberg, the NLRB regional director in Hartford who approved the settlement.
“The fact that they agreed to revise their rules so that they’re not so overly restrictive of the rights of employees to discuss their terms and conditions with others and with their fellow employees is the most significant thing that comes out of this,” Kreisberg said.
Terms of a private settlement agreement between the employee, Dawnmarie Souza, and the company were not disclosed, but Kreisberg said the parties reached a financial settlement. Souza will not be returning to work there.
Read more on the case, and what it means for social networkers across the country, on MyFoxTampaBay.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.