Can I be disciplined for complaining about my employer on Facebook?
Labor laws protect employee discussions of working conditions, even online.
I work at a discount store, one of a large nation-wide chain. At a recent meeting, our manager announced that the company was changing its policy on work hours. Starting in a few months, no employee will be allowed to work more than 29 hours a week; the company is going to hire more part-timers to make up the difference. This is really going to hurt those of us who live paycheck to paycheck. And, I'm pretty sure the company is doing it to avoid having to provide benefits when the health care reform law goes into effect for employers (in 2014).
I put something on my Facebook page about the policy change as soon as I got home from the meeting. I guess I wasn't the only one who was angry, because a bunch of my coworkers added comments. We were planning to go as a group to the manager to explain how painful the hours cut is going to be. But instead, all of us -- everyone who posted anything online about the policy -- got written warnings for inappropriate and unprofessional behavior. Apparently, company management saw the thread and didn't like it. Can they do this?