Think the law will protect your Facebook posts because of freedom of speech? Don’t be too sure.
Officials with a Georgia school district recently fired an employee after she referred to First Lady Michelle Obama as a gorilla on Facebook. According to a statement by the Forsyth County Schools this elementary school paraprofessional was fired because “racism and discrimination are not tolerated” in the school district.
Doesn’t the law say you can post anything you want on Facebook? No. There are a number of laws that limit what employees can post online. It’s all about what you post. For example The National Labor Relations Act does protect your right as an employee to communicate with other employees about the terms and conditions of your employment. So you can’t be disciplined or fired if you post about that. Also there are a number of federal and state laws that protect employees from employer retaliation for reporting certain types of problems (discrimination, harassment, unsafe working conditions, and so on). But that doesn’t protect other kinds of posts.
My advice as an employment law attorney is that you consider the public nature of Facebook before you post anything.