Hrmd 620 (Mercedez Benz Dealership Vz. Tristan Jones
Business and Management
Submitted By jojolapin07
1. Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act specifies that “employees shall have the right to self-organization, to form, join, or assist labor organizations, to bargain collectively through representatives of their own choosing, and to engage in other concerted activities for the purpose of collective bargaining or other mutual aid or protection.” Describe how the NLRB has interpreted the phrase “concerted activities for the purpose of collective bargaining or other mutual aid or protection.” The NLRB and the courts have interpreted this statutory provision to mean that employees ( both union and non-unions members ) have the right to act together and discuss the terms and conditions of employment with fellow employees, to improve wages and other terms and conditions of their employment. Consequently, the NLRB may issue a complaint against any employer which restricts Section 7 rights or otherwise imposes rules that have the effect of suppressing the exercise of those rights (Meyer & Woodard, 2012).
2. Jones argued that his employer had no right to discharge him because the posts he made to his Facebook page were none of its business. They were made in his capacity as an employee. Rather, they were made while he was “off the clock” while at home. What is the NLRB policy with respect an employer’s right to discipline or discharge employees because of posts made to social media web sites such as Facebook, Myspace and Twitter?
While the NLRB protects the rights of union or non-union employees to address work conditions via social media, platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, to be considered protected or concerted, such activities (i.e negative statement about a company) must address conditions of employment. Jones is absolutely incorrect in his assumptions and cannot excuse his attack of his employer simply because the postings were done "off the clock." Though Jones does have free speech rights and can take his frustrations to social media, he must know that once those comments are posted they are no longer considered "off the clock" or even "water cooler" discussions. These posts have the ability to create potential damage both to the image and future revenue of a company. Thus they are the concern of any business who wishes to protect the image of the company. According to NLRB policy, employers have the right to discipline or discharge any employee/s whose comments on social media are found to be inappropriate gripes, totally unrelated to conditions of employment.
3. Did the MERCEDES-BENZ dealership violate Tristan Jones’ Section 7 rights, and in the process, violated Section 8(a)(1) of the NLRA? Explain why you made the decision that you did.
It is a bit difficult to determine an exact yes or no response to this question since the disciplinary actions taken by the dealership against Jones involved multiple factors. There were two derogatory social media postings made by Jones on two separate occasions, one which concerned working conditions and the other reporting an event. If the question stated whether or not I upheld the decisions of the dealership to terminate Jones for the comments made regarding the sales event ? Then, no I do not. According to the report, Jones claimed that he along with other sales agents had expressed concerns to management that the unremarkable display of food and beverage at the sales event would send the wrong message to customers, which would in turn hurt their sales and commissions. While Jones statements appear to attack his employer's reputation, it can in this case be argued that Jones was merely contesting against the conditions of employment that hindered his commission. In legal terms, Jones posting in this particular case constitutes " concerted activity," which is protected under federal law.
Do I on the other hand uphold the dealership's decision to terminate Jones for the comments made regarding the crash? Yes, I do. Jones' sarcastic and mocking post of the Land Rover accident had absolutely nothing to do with the conditions of his employment, and as such it was neither protected nor concerted under NLRA regulations. His post was ill-mannered, insensitive and was additionally quite damaging to the image of the dealership. While I do support the rights of employees to free speech, I also support the right of employers to support the image of their company and in this case I do find Jones' termination an appropriate cause of action.
I guess my answer to the question lies on which of Jones posts prompted his termination from Mercedes- Benz.
4. What, if any, parts of the employer’s Employee Handbook violated Section 8(a)(1) of the NLRA? Explain why you made the decision that you did.
For the most part, I find the employer’s Employee Handbook to be in accordance with NLRA regulations. The only section which I would say violated the Act and may be susceptible to potential unfair labor practice charges would be the courtesy rule. The courtesy ruled is defined as such
" Courtesy is the responsibility of every employee. Everyone is expected to be courteous, polite and friendly to our customers, vendors and suppliers, as well as to their fellow employees. No one should be disrespectful or use profanity or any other language which injures the image or reputation of the Dealership."
I find that the courtesy rule which prohibits certain types of conducts and statement violates the rights of employees to partake in the kinds of activity protected by federal labor law. According to the Jackson Lewis, employees have the right to complain about employer work policies and make "un-courteous" statements that attack their employer’s reputation or that of their supervisor given that such "un-courteous" behavior relates to the terms and conditions of employment (Jackson Lewis LLC, 2011). To include such a rule in the employee handbook, can be viewed by the NLRB as a direct imposition of a rule intended to suppress the rights of employee to exercise their rights. That is indeed a violation of section 8(a)(1) of the National Labor Relations Act .
Jackson, Lewis LLC. (2011). It takes a sharp eye to spot "Protected concerted activity."The Healthcare Employer, 39(1). 1-5. Retrieved from: www.jacksonlewis.com/media/pnc/2/media.1642.pdf
Meyer, R & Woodard, D. (2012). NLRB announces new webpage focusing on protected concerted activity. Poyner Spruill. Published August,13
National Labor Relations Board. (2013). Protected concerted Activity. Retrieved from: http://www.nlrb.gov/rights-we-protect/protected-concerted-activity