New Jersey employers should be aware of national labor cases that could put limits on their social media policies, according to John Sarno, executive director of the Employers Association of New Jersey.
Sarno pointed to recent complaints by the National Labor Relations Board finding that employers had improperly retaliated against employees who posted criticism on Facebook.
“Typically, employers view those types of public complaints as insubordination or cause for some kind of discipline — but in these cases, the board has held that employees have, under certain circumstances, the right to complain about terms and conditions of employment, which includes criticism of management,” Sarno said.
Sarno said employers are finding that criticisms that were once private among employees are now reaching a wider audience.
“In the past these criticisms were more or less private. Now these criticisms, because of the social networking, are public — and because of this, employers are much more sensitive and more aware of what is going on,” he said.
Many employers who don’t have unionized employees aren’t aware that federal labor law provides certain rights to all workers, Sarno said. The law prevents employers from prohibiting the discussion of wages or working conditions among employees.
“I think that most employers don’t even think about the National Labor Relations Act because they think it has to do with unionization,” he said.
The complaints come in the run-up to the April 30 deadline for employers to post a public notice of employee rights in workplaces.
The EANJ is part of a group of employers and employer organizations that are arguing against this requirement, which was issued by the NLRB. They are seeking a court injunction against the poster requirement.