What to do when employees gripe online

Despite a recent court decision, employees who complain on social media are still protected from firing, attorneys say. Here’s what organizations should do to avoid flaming from within.

But a ruling in January by the U.S. Court of Appeals could swing the pendulum back toward organizations.

“Workers Griping by Facebook May Lose Jobs After Ruling,” Bloomberg reported.

The board had previously held that employees can complain about management on social media without retribution, Bloomberg stated. But that decision was among 220 issued last year by the five-person board, three of whose appointments the court has ruled invalid.

The question of brands vs. employees’ social media rights erupted again recently as Applebee found itself in a PR firestorm for firing a server who had posted a picture of a customer’s receipt on Redditt.

The appeals court decision is likely to reach the U.S. Supreme Court. In the meantime, what should employers do about workers who trash the brand, complain about perceived injustices at work, or simply fire off an ill-considered or boozy tweet?

1. Sit tight and stay tuned.

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