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JB Umphrey
JB Umphrey, Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 20233
Experience:  Assisting employees and employers for over 14 years.
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My employer asked one of my associates to print him out a copy

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My employer asked one of my associates to print him out a copy of my facebook page. I have read the social media policy and there was nothing on my page that went against this policy. My facebook acct settings are set to private. I read that the employer does not have the right to view them if they are set to private. I have not been reprimanded yet, but I believe that I am being targeted and would like to demand the copies be returned to me and turn the manager in for unfairly targeting me but I wonder if I have any legal right to do this.
Welcome and thank you for your question!

It would be helpful to know:

1. Do you work for a private company or a government agency?

2. Do you work closer to Albany or Buffalo?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I work for a privately owned company- walmart to be exact. I am closer to Buffalo, in between Rochester and Syracuse

Thank you. The federal National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) allows employees to participate in “concerted activities for the purpose of collective bargaining or other mutual aid or protection.”

Section 7 of that federal law allows employees to use social media (e.g., Facebook) to initiate group action. Employers cannot suppress these rights, notwithstanding of any union presence.

However, personal grievances that do not incite group action are not considered “concerted activities” and are not protected under the NLRA.

If you made comments on your Facebook page to enlist the support of coworkers to improve work conditions, the employer cannot take adverse action against you. If the employer does, you can contact and file a complaint with your local NLRB office:

Niagara Center Building
130 S. Elmwood Avenue
Suite 630
Buffalo, NYNNN-NN-NNNN

Phone:(NNN) NNN-NNNN
TTY:(NNN) NNN-NNNN
Fax:(NNN) NNN-NNNN

There is a bill in Congress called the Social Networking Online Protection Act (SNOPA). New York Rep. Eilot Engel introduced the law. It has not been passed, yet, however. It could stop employers from asking for access to online content from job seekers and current employees. However, again, it's just pending. It's not passed.

There is also a bill pending in New York. You can read it here: http://open.nysenate.gov/legislation/bill/S6938-2011 However, again, it's pending. It's not a law yet.

My goal is to provide you with excellent service – if you feel you have gotten anything less, please reply back. I am happy to address follow-up questions. Thank you for your business!

~~ J.B.
JB Umphrey and 2 other Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you
Here is an example of follow-up action that the NLRB has taken with a New York employer who followed employee Facebook posts: http://www.nlrb.gov/news-outreach/news-releases/complaint-issued-against-new-york-nonprofit-unlawfully-discharging-emplo

~~ J.B.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank you. what I specifically posted was a link to a news article talking about under staffing of the stores. I also posted a status update that said the following " I wonder when I am going to be paid $1 extra an hour for being a stocker?" ( Our stocking team on overnights gets paid extra an due to the lack of staffing, I end up having to do their job plus my own) My post was commented on by at least one other employee who complained that we don't have enough help. I am not sure if that is considered a personal grievance or concerted activity. Also, my manager has not tried to reprimand me yet, but I would like to have a meeting with him and the HR representative and state my rights before they even try to coach me.

You are most welcome. I am sure they will be surprised if you come to the meeting with those articles in hand.

Best wishes to you!

~~ J.B.