“You’re fired!” – Did You Criticize Your Boss on the Web?

The New York Times has an article about a woman who was fired for being critical of her supervisor on her own Facebook page.   The National Labor Relations Board is now involved in what appears to be a buildup to a trial date in court. 

The board argues that this woman’s actions fall under the federal labor law that prohibits employers from punishing employees for discussing working conditions.  On the flip side of the coin, this woman’s employer states that the law only applies to group cases, and does not apply if it’s a single individual.  Either way, this should make for an interesting court case that could have implications on what we’re allowed to say about our employers outside the workplace.

The worst part about all of this is that this situation could have been avoided.  While I have not seen what this woman specifically was posting about her supervisor, I think it’s safe to assume that she had problem that wasn’t answered by her leaders. 

Don’t get me wrong, as there are situations where someone is simply not a good fit for the job/culture/etc…  However, there are plenty of cases where leaders don’t truly listen to what their employees are telling them and make the mistake of assuming that the employees “have bad attitudes.”  We are supposed to be helping our employees succeed, rather than pushing them down. 

If you, as an employee, are facing an avalanche of problems, and your supervisor/manager does not seem to be interested in helping you find solutions, where else will you turn?  There’s no place else to go other than vent to your coworkers, friends, family, and in this case, the internet. 

There was a reason this woman felt the need to be critical of her supervisor and, ultimately, that’s what we all need to recognize as leaders:

  • Are we having regular scheduled one-on-ones with our employees to check in and see how they’re doing? 
  • Are we providing the support and direction to help our people not only manage their own tasks, but to grow their skills?
  • Are we actually listening to what our employees are telling us, rather than waiting for our turns to speak?

Remember this example the next time one of your employees come to you with a problem.  It could help avoid a very nasty situation in the future…

Let’s hear your thoughts!  Leave your comments.

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  • Comments (3)
  1. In my humble practice & experience, I always found a bi-weekly one-on-one meeting has been a very effective forum to help understand & learn more about employees. Although this meeting comes in the form of business interaction, yet, I found it provided more than just that for employees. It provided a sense of personal care. It told the employee ” I do care”, not in words, but rather in actions, a feeling that may not be felt on the day-to-day business interaction. It not only helps employees speak out, but as well helps leaders listen to their employees and see them differential, and probably learn something new about their team members, which can be a major contributor to further building the professional relationships between employees and their management, thus culminating an environment of trust and trustworthiness.

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