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Facebook-related Wrongful Termination Lawsuit Settled by Federal Agency

February 7, 2011

In breaking employment news from this week, a wrongful termination settlement was reached in the firing of a medication technician, whose employment was ended after she made critical remarks about her boss on Facebook.

Our Temecula, California employment attorneys have been following the recent announcement that that the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has reached an undisclosed settlement with the American Medical Response, who reportedly fired Dawnmarie Souza in 2009 after she wrote a Facebook message on her home computer criticizing a supervisor who made her aware that a customer was dissatisfied with her job performance. Souza's Facebook message was reportedly filled with profanity, and used the company's code word for a "psychiatric patient" to refer to her boss. Her Facebook posting received responses from her co-workers expressing support and approval for her rant.

Souza was reportedly fired because of complaints about her work, but the NLRB, an independent federal agency created by Congress to administer the National Labor Relations Act in 1935, filed a complaint against the ambulance services company in October of 2009, in defense of Souza, claiming that her Facebook comments complaining about her work were protected under federal labor laws.

The federal agency reportedly filed a complaint on behalf of Souza, claiming that under the National Labor Relations Act, employees have the legal right to discuss their employment terms and conditions with colleagues and others online and elsewhere. The national agency also accused American Medical Response of failing to provide Souza with union representation while being interviewed about her Facebook comments.

Under the settlement announcement, that our Carson labor and employment attorneys have been following, the American Medical Response will reportedly change the company's policy that prohibits workers from criticizing the company or supervisors on any websites, blogs, or in any online communication, and agreed to provide employees with union representation in meetings like this in the future.

According to the Associated Press, the board is reviewing a growing number of labor and employment complaints that look at the limits of Internet policies in corporations.

In cities throughout Orange County, California contact Howard Law, PC today.

Settlement reached in Facebook-related firing of medical technician, Los Angeles Times, February 7, 2011

Feds settle case of woman fired over Facebook site, The Associated Press, February 7, 2011

Related Web Resources:

National Labor Relations Board

Related Blog Posts:

Electronic Privacy in the Workplace: CA Court Rules Attorney-client Privilege Does Not Protect Work E-mail, California Employment Lawyers Blog, January 24, 2011

Ralphs' Employee Sues for Racial Discrimination, Harassment and Wrongful Termination, California Employment Lawyers Blog, October 18, 2010