Facebook Rant Results in Workers' Compensation Case

Consider the following story:

An employee goes on a Facebook rant full of profane remarks about his manager, which consequently gets him fired. Normal sequence of events, right? After all, who would be foolish enough to publicly rail against an employer where he or she can see it? Someone might as well walk straight into their boss’ office and yell at them directly. Anyone could reasonably conclude that the worker deserved discipline.

However, what the employee said at the end of his rant rendered his entire speech protected under U.S. labor law. Until that point, his rant was rude but well-intentioned—it focused on his manager’s abusive and otherwise disrespectful treatment of the employees in his charge. That alone wouldn’t protect his rant, however.

At the end of the tirade of expletives in the employee’s Facebook post was a call to action for his fellow employees to vote in favor of forming a union in an upcoming election.

With that call to action, the worker’s situation becomes a wrongful termination case.

Decision Found in the Worker’s Favor

The National Labor Relations Board found that the employee was unlawfully discharged in a 2-1 decision. The majority concluded that the employee was “engaged in protected concerted activity” when he asked for union support, which is allowed by law. The post was penned away from the workplace, while the employee was outside of the employer’s facility.

The method in which the employee delivered his message was not called into question because the manager himself had used expletives and profane language during his normal workday and had never explicitly stated that the language was unacceptable in the workplace. Further, the manager had never terminated any other employees for using profane language.

These combined (and seemingly meaningless) factors:

  • Asking for union support
  • Writing support off-site
  • Managerial history of profanity
  • No prior termination for language

…meant that rather than simply being a case of a disgruntled employee, this case became about workers’ rights—regardless of its “respectability.” Situations like this highlight the complexity of employment and workers’ compensation law. The grounds for termination and workplace politics is not black-and-white any more than day-to-day life is. Sometimes, the smallest details can turn an issue on its head.

Why You Need an Experienced Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Lawyer

Knowing the latest rules and regulations is what sets our workers’ compensation attorneys apart from the crowd. At Handler Henning and Rosenberg, our Pennsylvania workers’ comp attorneys have their finger on the pulse of Pennsylvania’s workers’ compensation system. We stay current on all the latest reforms to state and federal law to give our clients the best possible representation. We have helped thousands of injury victims recover settlements for their injuries, losses, and pain & suffering.

If you’re looking for someone who knows how to make the law work in your favor, who knows what details can make or break a case, then you’ve come to the right law firm. Our team has won millions for workers nationwide, bringing them the money they needed for medical care, lost wages, and more.

Social Security Disability Help Is Available

If you have been injured so badly that you cannot return to your previous job, you may be able to claim Social Security Disability benefits. If your claim has been denied, do not be discouraged and do not give up. The Social Security Disability attorneys at Handler Henning & Rosenberg have been helping injured people in Pennsylvania get the justice they deserve since 1922. Put our legal experience and strategies to work for you so that you can focus on healing from your injuries.

We have offices throughout Pennsylvania, and we offer a free consultation to help you learn your legal options and get started right away.


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