The National Labor Review Board ordered a Buffalo nonprofit to rehire five employees that were fired for comments they left on Facebook while not on the clock..
The workers were let go in October after making disparaging, online comments about their jobs. It is unclear what precedent, if any, the ruling against Hispanic United of Buffalo will set. But online response and commentary was calling the ruling in favor of the five terminated workers a victory.
“Wow--incredibly important story...Unclear on the precedent, but could become a huge issue,” Josh Hirschland tweeted Thursday.
Labor and workplace law experts used the decision as a warning to followers on social networks to evaluate their policies. All five employess -- including the one the initial post complained about -- were fired for harassment, but the director of Hispanic United chose not to fire her secretary, who also participated in the complaining about working conditions and staffing levels.
“Complicated issue; needs clarification for future cases,” Wally Koval tweeted.
“Time to brush off some policies,” added Paul Ten Haken, president of digital marketing and strategy firm Click Rain Inc.
All five are now owed back pay as a result of the ruling by Administrative Law Judge Arthur J. Amchan. The comments, according to his ruling, are protected speech under the National Labor Relations Act.