Tech Talk: Work Rants Online Now Protected By Law

January 23, 2013  |  


Are you on Facebook and need to vent about your job? Go ahead. It is now against the law for employers to penalize workers who complain about their job  on social media.

According to The New York Times (h/t Black America Web), federal regulators recognize workplace complaints and comments on sites like Facebook and Twitter as protected speech. “It is illegal for a company to place restrictions on open forums where employees can criticize companies even when it is frowned upon,” reports Black America Web.

“The National Labor Relations Board has concluded that workers have a right to discuss work conditions freely and without fear of retribution, regardless of where the discussion takes place be it in the office or online,” reports The New York Times.

Now this doesn’t mean that you can post any old rant online. The Times notes the case of a reporter who went too far when there wasn’t enough news to report. The NLRB found his comments to be “offensive, not concerted activity and not about working conditions.” Moreover, even if you’re not fired, a company seeing a stream of negative or snarky comments about the company or the job is not going to award you any points, and may cost you in the end in the form of promotions or choice assignments.

If you don’t like to put your business out on Facebook or any other social media network, there is a site to talk about work problems anonymously. Anonymous Employee lets you post grievances and get responses from others who may be in the same situation. The site will send your employer an email saying it has received an anonymous compliant, and gives the employer the opportunity to respond to the complaint. Which could actually be a constructive way of voicing an opinion and seeing actual change.

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