Warning: This post contains language that many working outside of the NLRB will find offensive.
The National Labor Relations Board recently ruled that an employer acted unlawfully when it fired an employee who said on Facebook that his boss was a “nasty motherfucker” and “Fuck his mother and his entire fucking family.” A majority of the 3-member panel concluded that the language was sufficiently tied to an upcoming union election to constitute protected activity. A third member dissented, saying that such vulgar and offensive attacks on the manager and his family do not fall within the protections of the National Labor Relations Act.
Whether a workplace is unionized or not, the Board is taking an increasingly active role in trying to dictate how employers run their businesses.
If you permit vulgarity in the workplace, it’s hard to discipline employees because you don’t like the message.
If you want to discipline an employee for vulgarity, you need to consider the context. If employees can claim that they were protesting poor treatment by management, the NLRB may be inclined to scrutinize management’s response.
If the NLRB continues its activist trend, employers are completely fu…, totally scr…, going to face daunting challenges.
Law360 was kind enough to post the decision (pdf).