Protected Concerted Activity & Your Church Social Media PolicyPosted on July 11th, 2012.
The National Labor Relations Board made public a webpage that describes the rights of employees to act together for their mutual aid and protection, even if they are not in a union. You might wonder why your church or nonprofit organization should care, but please keep reading.
The page, at www.nlrb.gov/concerted-activity, tells the stories of more than a dozen recent cases involving protected concerted activity, which can be viewed by clicking points on a map. Among the cases: A construction crew fired after refusing to work in the rain near exposed electrical wires; a customer service representative who lost her job after discussing her wages with a coworker; an engineer at a vegetable packing plant fired after reporting safety concerns affecting other employees; a paramedic fired after posting work-related grievances on Facebook; and poultry workers fired after discussing their grievances with a newspaper reporter.
The Church Law Group continues to recommend you work with experienced legal counsel in drafting your social media policy. If it is overly broad in restricting communication with respect to working conditions, etc. your policy could be out of compliance. Among other important items, you should include the following statement at the end of your policy:
“Nothing in this policy is intended to prohibit employee rights under the law, and any conflict between the language in this policy and the current state of the law will be decided in favor of the law.”
While this alone is insufficient to ensure you have a comprehensive and legally defensible policy, it is a helpful practice while the government and court system tries to figure out the degree to which communication in the workplace can be restricted.