Can You Get Fired for Talking or Tweeting About the Wrong Things?

There is certain information that your employer may not want you to share publicly. Perhaps you signed a confidentiality agreement when you first started working, promising not to share information about the company’s clients with a third party. If you broke this agreement, you would be in violation of your employer’s policy and could face disciplinary action.

But what about other types of information—information about your own employment—that you think others would benefit from knowing? If you negotiate a pay raise and five extra vacation days per year with your employer, are you allowed to share this information with your colleagues? If your employer treats you unfairly, are you allowed to warn other prospective employees about the unhealthy workplace dynamic on social media?

Under most circumstances, the answer is “yes.” While it may not be your employer’s preference to have you speaking publicly about such subjects, you’re allowed—under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA)—to do so. The NLRA enables employees to engage in “protected, concerted activity”—i.e., activity that aims to benefit the terms and conditions of employment and is not reckless or malicious.

Most union and non-union workers are protected by the NLRA, with a few notable exceptions:

  • Public employees
  • Workers employed by a parent or spouse
  • Agricultural workers
  • Domestic workers
  • Independent contractors
  • Employees protected by the Railway Labor Act
  • Supervisors (in most cases)

If you have been fired because of an activity that you believe is protected under the NLRA, talk to an experienced employment law attorney. If the NLRA protection applies, your employer could be required to hire you back as well as reimburse you for any back pay.