PROOF that a Twitter firing can withstand NLRB scrutiny. Read on…


I was considering three topics for today’s post:

  1. A teacher who was fired for watching 67 seconds of pornography;
  2. This smokin-hot cheerleader, fired for the NSFW-version of the photo on the right, who has filed a national-origin discrimination claim against the Indianapolis Colts; or
  3. A National Labor Relations Board Advice Memorandum on employee use of Twitter in the workplace.

I went with No. 3. I stand by my decision. 

Now, how do I erase my browser history?

While I figure that out, you hit jump for more on why the National Labor Relations Board found no unfair labor practice when: (a) a unionized newspaper company, (b) with no social media policy, (c) which encouraged its employees to use Twitter, fired a reporter based on a few tweets.

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The Charging Party creates a Twitter account.

The Charging Party worked as a “crime and safety beat” reporter for the Arizona Daily Star from 1999 until September 30, 2010. In 2009, at the Daily Star’s encouragement, Charging Party (and other Daily Star employees) opened Twitter accounts. At that time, the Daily Star had no social media policy.

Upon opening a Twitter account, the Charging Party then started seeking out co-workers and others who had Twitter accounts, started following them on Twitter, and accumulated a group of his own followers, including coworkers and some of his supervisors. In the biography section of his Twitter account, the Charging Party stated that he was reporter for the Daily Star and included a link to the Daily Star’s website. In his tweets, he at times referred followers to the Daily Star’s website for stories. 

The Charging Party tweeted using his work computer, his company provided cell-phone, and his home computer. At various times, the Charging Party’s Twitter account was open to everyone. And, at other times, he restricted access to his followers. The Charging Party had linked his Twitter account to his Facebook and MySpace pages. Therefore, whenever he tweeted something, the same message would be posted on Facebook and MySpace.

The Charging Party tweets inappropriately.

In early 2010, the Charging Party posted a tweet saying, “The Arizona Daily Star’s copy editors are the most witty and creative people in the world. Or at least they think they are.” This tweet was a shot at the Sports Department. The Charging Party had never discussed his concerns about the Sports Department headlines with any of his coworkers.