By Eric B. Meyer
Employee posts “FIRE ME…Make my day…” on Facebook. And guess what?
And not even the Associate General Counsel at the National Labor Relations Board could save this employee.
A blast from the past
In Tasker Healthcare Group, d/b/a Skinsmart Dermatology, the Charging Party — and nine other people (of whom seven were current employees) participated in a private group message on Facebook. During that session the Charging Party started mouthing off about his employer, saying, “They [the Employer] are full of shit … They seem to be staying away from me, you know I don’t bite my [tongue] anymore, FUCK…FIRE ME….Make my day…”
Other than the Charging Party, no current employees took part in this portion of the conversation. Later that day, one of the silent employees showed the exchange to the employer.
And Harry Callahan promptly got his wish.
Now, if this whole situation seems oddly familiar to you, it should.
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Back in January, I blogged about an employee who posted, “I wish I could get fired” on Facebook, and promptly got her wish. In that post, I discussed the concept of protected concerted activity, the right of employees in a union or non-union workplace to discuss work issues with one another, even if it’s unflattering to the employer.
An individual gripe, not protected concerted activity
But, as I noted back then, while gabbing with others is protected, griping alone is not protected. This Board’s Associate General Counsel applied the same maxim to the Charging Party:
In the instant case, the Charging Party’s comments merely expressed an individual gripe rather than any shared concerns about working conditions. Specifically, her comments bemoaned the return of a former employee and stated that her current supervisor tried to tell her something and she told her to “back the freak off’; that the Employer was “full of shit”; and that the Employer should “FIRE ME .. Make my day.” These comments merely reflected her personal contempt for her returning coworker and for her supervisor, rather than any shared employee concerns over terms and conditions of employment. Thus, although her comments referenced her situation at work, they amounted to nothing more than individual “griping,” and boasting about how she was not afraid to say what she wished at work.”
So, next time one of your employees speaks out alone about wanting to be fired, go ahead and make his or her day.
This was originally published on Eric B. Meyer’s blog, The Employer Handbook.