OK to Ask Employee to Delete Tweets per NLRB

The NLRB found a fast food restaurant in Pennsylvania did not violate federal labor law when it asked a worker to delete certain Twitter postings, including one with “cheap #labor.” The Board’s ruling comes after an Administrative Law Judge found among other things, that the company violated the employee’s right to discuss wages and working conditions when it requested he delete a handful of postings from his Twitter account.

The employee wrote “nothing is free, only cheap #labor. Crew members only make $8.50hr how much is that steak bowl really?” Another tweet, referencing that the company charged for guacamole, said “it’s extra not like #Qdoba, enjoy the extra $2.”

Per the NLRB, these tweets did not constitute concerted activity because they did not address a term or condition of employment and were not made on behalf of a group of employees. Rather, they were a single worker’s gripe. Savvy workers have, in the past, made similar gripes but gratuitously referenced concerted activity or union organizing at the end which made them activity protected by the National Labor Relations Act.

The NLRB also upheld the ALJ’s finding that an outdated social media policy that prohibited employees from posting “incomplete, confidential, or inaccurate information” and making “disparaging, false, or misleading statements” violated the NLRA.

Matt Austin is a lawyer based in the Columbus, Ohio office of Roetzel & Andress, LPA who limits his practice to representing employers dealing with labor, employment, and OSHA matters. You can call Matt at (614) 723-2010 or email him at maustin@ralaw.com.