Hearing the begining of the On the Media podcast the host of the show began to trash talk his boss which is what many employees wish they could do online and offline. Although we know he was kidding, the idea of being free to say what you want to say online has become a controversial issue. Many companies have the ability to treat their workers with respect and with disrespect and as normal humans, employees react. Lafe Solomon the General Council of the National Labor Relations Board stated that companies have a right to enforce policies that protect the secrets of the company but they don’t have the right to prohibit employees from talking about the company in general. Any sort of organization will make policies that look out for the reputation of the company first versus looking out for the rights of the employees.
I work in a major food corporation (TGI FRIDAYS) that requires an employee to be fully aware of the policies regarding bad mouthing of the restaurant on all major social site. When I landed the job they had me sign a million papers contracting my silence when it came to talking about the company via Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, etc. I was witness to the scolding of one of my co-workers for writing a post regarding the rudeness of one of my managers, although she didn’t get fired she was suspended. I believe my job takes this policy a little too far; as much as they want to maintain this laid-back persona they are a strict company who relies on their image. The line that Solomon drew on the podcast saying that as long as an employees or employer is threatened in anyway people should be allowed to maintain their freedom of speech.