The right of workers to get together and moan about their bosses has been enshrined in U.S. law ever since 1935, when President Roosevelt signed the landmark National Labor Relations Act. The heart of the statute, known as Section 7, guarantees employees the right to organize, collectively bargain, and "engage in other concerted activities" for their "mutual aid and protection." That basically means you've got permission to whine about management at a bar without getting canned.
These days, that right also extends to the (often whiny) free-for-all that is social media. In a series ofreports and rulings this year, the National Labor Relations Board clarified that you are indeed entitled to log onto Facebook or Twitter and gripe about your employer without facing retribution. Of course, all rights have their limitations, and this one is no exception, as attorney Philip Gordon explained in an interview with Bloomberg Businessweek this week. Gordon relates the fascinating case of Knauz BMW, the moral of which is this: If you're determined to make fun of your company, keep your lacerating wit focused on stuff involving your actual job.
Here are the facts of the case, as Gordon realtes them: Knauz BMW, a dealership outside Chicago, decided to throw a soiree of sorts for its customers, and management thought it would be fun to roll out a hot dog cart for the party. Its sales team argued -- to no avail -- that an event full of luxury-car owners needed a classier menu, and when the day came, a salesman named Robert Becker snapped some photos of the cart and loaded them onto Facebook "along with snide comments," as Gordon puts it.
Read more at The Atlantic.Image via Tom Kaye / Shutterstock.com