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Regional News: Build.com settles charge of unlawful discharge for comments posted on Facebook with NLRB agreement in San Francisco

Regional Director Joseph Frankl of NLRB Region 20 in San Francisco today approved a settlement agreement between build.com, a web-based home improvement retailer operating out of Chico, California, and a former employee whom the employer discharged after she posted comments about the company to her Facebook page.

The former employee filed a charge with the NLRB on February 28, 2011, alleging that she was terminated in retaliation for having posted the comments about build.com and possible state labor code violations, which drew responses from other employees who were “Facebook friends” of the charging party. Under the National Labor Relations Act, employees have the right to discuss wages and other conditions of work with their co-workers. The employees in this case were not represented by a union.

After the charge was filed, build.com immediately offered to engage in settlement discussions with the NLRB. The former employee declined reinstatement to her position but will be made whole by the company for lost earnings. The employer will also post a notice at the workplace for 60 days stating that employees have the right to post comments about terms and conditions of employment on their social media pages, and that they will not be terminated or otherwise punished for such conduct.

Commenting on the settlement, Director Frankl said, “I am pleased that the parties have agreed to resolve this dispute amicably, without the need for costly litigation, and that the employer has recognized the rights of its employees to use social networking sites to comment about their working conditions.”

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