Unlimited Vacation – Moving Away from Attendance and Towards Production

In recent years, several companies have moved to “unlimited” or “flexible” vacation plans. The old way of earning vacation time based off of hours worked has gone by the wayside. Employers are embracing the idea of having better work-life balance and fostering the trust-relationship between employer and employee. When these plans first started surfacing, there were several skeptics and many people assumed that the policy would be abused. The reality, however, has shown that this simply isn’t true. There’s something to be said for allowing employees to act professionally and make sound decisions on when they take vacation and how much they take. In fact in one article I read, the onus is on the employees to educate themselves on the expectation of usage. Employers have also done a good job of shifting the focus away from attendance and on to production.

For companies (specifically in California), unlimited vacation plans eliminate the financial burden on employers to pay out mass amounts of accrued vacation at the end of employment. In fact, it entirely eliminates that line item on financial statements of vacation liability. Companies like Zen Payroll, Netflix, even GE and Virgin are adopting these policies!

So if it seems like such great idea – why did some employers find that the policy didn’t work. The answer to this question varies with each organization. Tribune Publishing, owner of the Los Angeles Times, tried to roll out a “discretionary time off” policy and the workforce was so unhappy about it, the policy was rescinded less than a week later.  Culturally there was a trust issue with management and the employees believed they wouldn’t be granted the time they had “earned.” They also probably erred in the naming of the policy – “flexible” is a lot more friendly in connotation than “discretionary.”

At Kickstarter, the company tried the policy for a year and ultimately decided to go back to a more “traditional” vacation policy. What they discovered is their employees actually took less time off than when they had a set number of days. The employees suffered from lack of clarity on the policy so work-life balance suffered. They have now gone back to a maximum of 25 vacation days per year.

Like many issues in HR, deciding if an unlimited vacation policy is right for your company is mostly about knowing and understanding the culture of your company. Industries that are heavily reliant on hourly workers or have periods where giving time off would significantly impact business productivity, like retail may not be good candidates for this type of benefit. If there is a culture of mistrust of management, like Tribune Publishing, this may actually worsen that view. In policy making and change – Always consider your people and culture first!

For more insight on unlimited vacation policies, check out this article from our friends over at SHRM.

Recruiting Metrics: What do the Numbers Really Mean?

Recruiting metrics can look as convoluted as the formula for finding the square root of pi if you don’t know what it is you are looking at. I myself am admittedly not a numbers gal. I’d prefer to write a 5000 word essay over a page of multiplication and algebraic equations any day! And this is fairly common for human resources professionals, as we don’t always identify ourselves as “numbers” people. However, in order to be efficient recruiting experts, understanding the numbers of it all is critical to adopting and utilizing an effective strategy for finding the best people to join your team! So, as with most things that make us uncomfortable in life, the ideal way to understand the metrics is to get comfortable with the numbers game.

Recruiting Metrics: What do the numbers really mean?

In 2012, SHRM (Society for Human Resources Management) released their first human resources metric standard survey. While not the most exhilarating piece of reading material, it does attempt to set the stage for how and why metrics in recruitment and HR in general matter.

The first issue is the cost per hire calculation (CPHC). This is discovered by looking at the external recruiting costs plus the internal recruiting costs, divided by the total number of hires during a given time period. This information will quantify the resources you are devoting to recruiting (either internally or externally) and the cost-effectiveness of this effort.

The second issue is what I would like to spend some time on here, because it seems to be the more critical piece of this particular puzzle. There are so many different numbers you could look at for HR: employee absenteeism rates, worker’s compensation costs per employee, HR staff to overall staff ratio, human capital cost (factoring in the cost of benefits), and many more. However, the one I’d like to take a look at is the turnover rate. We’ve written a lot about terminations and new hires, and this all factors into the company’s turnover rate which then affects the cost of recruitment and the budget for new hire and selection. By understanding your company’s numbers in terms of recruitment and turnover, you can better determine where you need to spend your selection/search funds, and how you can make the most of your money in this area. Understanding these numbers and knowing how to search, how to hire, how to screen, and how to onboard will likely decrease your turnover rate, which then helps with training costs, new employee onboarding processes, time spent setting up new hire emails, accounts, etc. So for all of my fellow non-numbers people, I’d suggest turning your attention to these particular numbers, because everyone knows the dollar speaks volumes when it comes to metrics in the workplace!

Succession Plans: Help Them Grow or Watch Them Go!

We are all familiar with the small Mom & Pop companies that don’t have any real HR departments in place, lack procedures and documentation, and basically do what they’ve been doing because “hey it works for us!” As an HR professional, this is definitely not the recommended path for our clients and blog readers! No matter the size of the company, HR is necessary. The same can be said for succession plans and career development. Without a plan in place for what happens if someone leaves the company abruptly, or health concerns take a beloved long-term employee out of the office for months at a time, you are opening your business up for failure. Why not take a proactive approach and train your junior-level employees so that should a succession plan need to be implemented, you already have the training and groundwork underway? #successionplans  #careerdevelopment

Authors Beverly Kaye and Julie Winkle Giulioni are both successful businesswomen and leaders who have penned a book about the how-to’s of career coaching and development. Help Them Grow or Watch Them Go is a straightforward guide for CEO’s, managers, and leaders to implement strategies in the workplace to foster growth in employees, encourage career development, adopt succession plans that allow for cross-training, learn the duties and responsibilities of colleagues and utilize the talent within your employees to build a strong and confident team approach.

According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), “succession planning is a means for an organization to ensure its continued effective performance through leadership continuity.” Combining this definition of succession planning with the tools suggested by leaders such as Kaye and Giulioni in encouraging career development amongst all levels of employees will allow companies to be prepared in the case of necessary organizational change.

At Peoplescape, we would suggest a team training followed by mentorships, pairing up a greener employee with a more seasoned employee, and allowing them to share ideas and learn from each other. We truly enjoy helping companies grow and working with them on their organizational development plans. Follow us on Twitter  @PeoplescapeHC or Like us on Facebook at Peoplescape Consulting to see our latest tips and ideas on how to improve your career development plans!

Time Off During the Holidays

It can be an employer’s nightmare – how do you manage all these vacation requests and deliver on business needs? Some industries like hotels and retail have no choice, they MUST be open for the holiday season while other industries have the option of shutting down or offering work-from-home options. No matter where you fall in that spectrum, you will still be faced with a slew of time off requests. What do you do?

Set the expectation early
If you’re in an industry that is open during the holidays, you may consider a blackout policy or a ‘this or that ‘ policy. A blackout policy is where all vacation requests are denied for a set period of time (i.e. in some Retail Stores no vacation requests are granted from Thanksgiving through New Years Day). These policies should be communicated as soon as they are made and with any new hires that come on board. You DO NOT want to surprise your employees with this policy! If that seems a little too stringent for your employee population, consider a policy where employees can submit their preference of having either Christmas or New Years off. Make it clear that you will do your best to match their request, but it is not a guarantee. This could also be done by offering the days off before Christmas vs. after Christmas – whichever makes most sense for your organization.

Encourage employees to work it out together
Sometimes when everyone in a single department asks for the same days (or overlapping days) off, it’s better to let them figure it out. You may also help your employees by sharing expectations. For example, we will need 12 workers in the office on Christmas Eve and we will need 15 workers in the office on New Years Eve. This way they may be able to work out a plan amongst themselves to meet these coverage levels rather than have them dictated by ‘management.’

Set deadlines or windows for requests.
Some employers go for the “first come/First serve” approach. Personally, I’m not a fan of this approach because some employees may put in their requests extremely early to guarantee they are granted – Seriously, I’ve gotten Christmas requests in February before. What I recommend is to set a window during which holiday requests will be accepted and reviewed. For example, requests will be accepted no earlier than August 1st and no later than October 1st.  This gives you, the employer, ample time to review all requests and necessary staffing levels, and identify areas
where there may be a problem.

Have a plan for managing requests
If you have opted for the first come/first serve option, make sure you stick to it without fail. Some employers also use a seniority system for granting requests. If multiple requests from one department are received, the person with the most seniority will be granted the vacation time. In this scenario make sure you consider the turnover rate of your most senior staff, if this is an area of low turnover, the same people may receive time off year after year, while others do not. I’ve heard of some employers who do a raffle system, where employees in the same department each get a raffle ticket and a certain number of tickets are drawn from a hat.  Determining the system you use is going to be based on knowing your employees and what makes sense for the business. My advice, don’t wait until you have a problem to develop the plan. Have that plan in place before hand so there’s no chance of someone seeing the policy as showing favoritism.

Schedule as early as possible
The sooner employees know what their calendar is going to look like the better! If you are able to post it well in advance, then employees can make travel arrangements. Of course, I’d make a note on there that it is subject to change due to business needs – just in case you have unexpected turnover or a deadline is suddenly moved up, etc.

Consider alternative options
Are there other options to cover the holiday needs? Perhaps you can offer a holiday pay differential for those employees who do work the holiday. Are your business needs something that could be filled by seasonal or temp help? These may be options to allow extra flexibility to your full time regular employees!

No matter how you handle time off requests, unless you are shutting down completely, expect that some people may have to work during the holiday season. Do your best to do something special for these employees. Consider buying
everyone lunch or handing out prizes. Lastly, make sure your senior leadership is setting an example. If all of the managers are taking time off and the hourly employees are stuck working, it could be a big blow to company morale. My recommendation: Make sure you set similar expectations with those in leadership positions as you do with employees.

‘Tis the Season!

Hiring People Where They Are

Meeting people where they are is a common theme amongst community groups and churches. Why not adopt this same mantra in the workplace when it comes to attracting top talent? Meeting job applicants where they happen to be is a critical next step in where recruitment is headed in 2016. Whether that may be on Facebook or Twitter or LinkedIn, or simply by utilizing mobile job applications that can be easily accessed on cell phones and tablets, this is something that employers need to seriously consider when analyzing their recruiting success and failure in 2015, and moving forward with a game plan for the coming year.

According to Tom Epperson of valuesbasedleader.com, meeting people where they are simply means, “diagnosing their values, their style, their needs, and their emotions, and connecting with them in a way that is effective for them.” This is also known as the platinum rule…much like the golden rule of treating others as you wish to be treated, the platinum rule encourages spending time to get to know the person you are working with, understanding what makes them tick and what works for them. This is an ideal practice when it comes to recruiting the stars for your team, because your people may be hanging out on Facebook, but you are more of a LinkedIn person. Doing some online research to find out the hot spots for your ideal candidates, or following them on Facebook or Twitter to see what is relevant in their worlds, this can go a long way towards attracting the talent pool that you are after in your organization.

Doing the same things and expecting change is the definition of insanity. Don’t be crazy, and utilize the tools at your disposal. Use mobile job applications whether that may be an in-house app that your tech department can set up just for your company, or utilize the mobile job application functions within the recruiting giants of Monster and Indeed. It’s safe to say that most job seekers in the 40 and under set are NOT scouring newspapers on Sunday, circling the job ads that they want to visit or call on Monday morning. Most job seekers are looking on their phones, while they are out running errands, visiting with friends or watching NFL games in the local dive bar on Sunday. Mobile is where it’s at…and that’s where your stars are most likely to be.

If you’re unsure of the mobile job applications and systems that will work best for your company, please feel free to contact us. Our HR professionals have utilized these specific tools in their own workplace and can make helpful suggestions for what might work for your organization!

You’re Invited! Navigate the Work Holiday Party!

It’s been announced that there’s a holiday gathering! Fantastic! Finally time to let loose, party it up and have some fun with coworkers – or is it? I suppose the answer can depend on the person, but as rule, remember that work-sponsored parties, even if they do offer free booze, is still a WORK party! Don’t let one party be the game-changer for how people see you professionally after that “one crazy night!”

Here are a few tips to survive the party without ruining your professional reputation:

1. Keep the cocktail count down! The company may be picking up the tab, but you probably don’t want your boss to see your drunken antics anymore than you’d want your mother to!  It’s perfectly acceptable to have one or two, but alternate with non-alcoholic drinks and make sure if you do have drinks, you have arranged for transportation to get home safely. Make sure you are not the person everyone is talking about on Monday.

2. Don’t talk shop! You spend a large portion of your life at work, save the work-talk for when you’re in the office. This celebration is your opportunity to discuss your other interests!  This is also a good time to remind everyone, politics and religion are NEVER good party topics – keep the conversation light. Use this time to learn about your coworkers holiday traditions or families.

3. Dress for the occasion! You can dress up, but don’t go too sexy or revealing! You want to maintain your professional image, so if it’s too tight or revealing for work, it may be better to reserve this outfit for the nightclub or a non-work related event. Also, make sure you check the attire on the invite, you don’t want to show up in a suit and tie when everyone else is in jeans!

4. Don’t remain in the safety of your typical work crowd. The goal of the party is for employees to mingle. Go talk to someone in another department or speak to those higher ups. It may be intimidating at first, but they could be the person interviewing you for your next promotion. Wouldn’t it be great if the interview wasn’t the first time they were hearing your name or meeting you?

5. Thank the host.  Depending on your company this could be a party committee or the HR Department or the executive assistant. Whoever it is, remember they put a lot of time and effort into ensuring you had a good time (and probably worked a good portion of the party as well). Saying thank you will go a long way – and more than likely, you would be one of the few that did!

Remember, employers want you to have a fabulous time at the party, but they don’t want you to be tomorrow’s gossip. Need some humorous, but very true illustrations of holiday disasters? Check out Fast Company’s video of what not to do at your company’s holiday party!

Boosting Morale During This Holiday Season

Hopefully employee engagement and morale is a year-round focus and effort for your company, but the holiday season certainly brings out an elevated level of giving thanks and celebrating those around us. For some of your employees, however, the holidays may be extra stressful. Trying to balance the demands of hosting family or traveling to see family, purchasing gifts, attending religious services, volunteering at food banks, and countless other holiday-related obligations alongside work deadlines and expectations, this season may leave people feeling overloaded.

Depending on budget, some companies can offer more perks than others, but even the little things can make a big difference in employee morale. Here are a few ideas to show your employees some extra gratitude and appreciation this holiday season:

1. Flexible Scheduling: Allow employees to come in a little early so they can leave early to get some holiday shopping done or work a longer 4 day work-week so employees can have a full day to take care of other responsibilities.

2. Gifts of Thanks: The more personalized the better! In a very small company it may be easy to buy an individual gift for each employee, larger employers may not have this much flexibility. Individual gifts show employees that you know more about them than just the work they do! For larger employers, consider items that can have individual names or photos printed on them or select a different gift for each department/work team. If physical gifts are not in the budget, consider a hand-written note or personal call to an employees home. Sure, this will take a little time, but it goes a long when an employee knows their individual contributions are acknowledged and appreciated! I can say from personal experience, I still have a few thank you cards that were written to me from my old managers!

3. Holiday Gatherings: This doesn’t have to be a full-blown party (or it can be!), but maybe provide a lunch, or host a pot-luck where everyone can bring in their favorite season dish! This is a great way to celebrate the diverse workforce you have! One article I read suggested having a Hot Cocoa/Hot Cider party! I particularly loved that idea because it can be done cost-consciously and yet would be a great surprise afternoon pop-up event in the office!

4. Give back to the community: Sponsor a canned food drive or toy drive for a local charity. If possible, take a day where employees can volunteer at a local organization. If someone in your workplace is very active in a specific organization, consider sponsoring his or her charity! These types of volunteer events can really bring teams together while giving back in a way that means a lot to your community.

5. Make Human Connections: Encourage employees to share their stories and plans for the holidays! Not every conversation has to be entirely work-related. Consider posting a map in the break room for employees to mark where they are travelling for the holidays or creating a gratitude board where employees can thank each other for their efforts! These are great conversation starters! Inquiring about individuals’ holiday traditions and plans shows that you care about the individual, not just the work they produce. Bonus points if you can remember some of the highlights to ask about after the holiday season passes!

Regardless of budgets, there’s a lot that can be done to show employees you care during this holiday season! Remember that the small things can sometimes mean the most! Take this holiday season as an opportunity to show your ‘work family’ some love as well!

Workplace Religious Expression During the Holidays

As we enter the holiday season, the question of religious expression becomes a more prominent issue as religion and holidays often go hand in hand. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employers from taking employment action against individuals based on his or her religion (among other protected characteristics). Employers are also required to provide reasonable accommodations, such as honoring a time off request for a religious holiday. As we near the end of the year, that means a myriad of religious holidays are on the way: Christmas, Kwanzaa, Ramadan, Hanukkah, Three King’s Day, and Winter Solstice to name a few! How do employers celebrate holidays in the office while still honoring religious expression in the workplace?

Since 2007, claims of religious discrimination in the workplace are on the rise. Coupled with personal expression, religious expression can be a tricky line to walk. From the church of body modification (participants of this religious claim body piercings and tattoos as their form of religious expression, while some may argue it is a personal expression of artistry and not religious in nature) to the Catholic church, and everything in between, religion is and always will be a sensitive subject. Of course, sensitive subjects are what HR professionals know best! So how do you protect your workplace from religious discrimination claims while still allowing for freedom of religious expression during the holidays?

It is the responsibility of the human resources department to determine and honor what a reasonable accommodation will be. It is critical for the employer to be sensitive to religious accommodation requests, and to thoroughly evaluate every request fairly and objectively, regardless of the employer’s own beliefs. On the flip side, employers must be able to identify an accommodation request that would create an undue hardship, and deny those requests. Set the bar for what is and is not reasonable in your workplace, and follow a strict guideline of those qualifications.

The only way to keep your company protected is to be fair, be consistent, and be efficient in decision-making. Here are a few tips on how to make the most of the holidays and use this time to build morale among your employees and create a team environment of celebration!

1. Make an effort to avoid religious holidays when planning deadlines for major projects. Keep in mind that vacation requests will be pouring in for this time and plan accordingly.
2. Instead of exchanging gifts, plan events that will provide a spirit of shared goodwill throughout your organization. Plan a holiday potluck and encourage employees to bring their favorite holiday dishes, or organize a canned food drive for the less fortunate, or schedule a day for employees to volunteer at a children’s hospital delivering gifts. Get creative!
3. Employees should be allowed to decorate their personal space with religious expression decorations, as long as it does not create an undue hardship on the business.
4. Workplace gift exchanges should be limited to $10 or $15 to keep the gift-giving fair and fun! Guidelines for workplace appropriate gifts should be clearly stated as well.
5. Ditch the mistletoe in the workplace – this can lead to sexual harassment or hostile work environment claims much too easily and should be avoided entirely.

Happy Holidays!

Sue Me Under The Mistletoe: Holiday Parties

As the holiday season has quickly come upon us, many companies opt to throw a party! We’ve all heard some Holiday party horror stories – and if you haven’t, check out Inc.com’s list of holiday party faux-pas! But all jokes and horror stories aside, holiday parties can be a real source of liability for employers! Have no fear!  Peoplescape is here to help guide your party planning committee on how to limit  liability.

Naming the event

Every good event should have a name! In the case of holiday parties, remember the name needs to be inclusive of all cultures, religions, etc. Do not call it a Christmas Party, try something neutral like Holiday Party or Year-End Celebration. This will avoid anyone feeling left out, uncomfortable, or discriminated against for not being included.

Location

Pick a location that is neutral and appropriate like a common area in the office or a banquet room at a hotel/restaurant. Picking a place like a nightclub may encourage employees to “let loose” more than what is appropriate for work event. Also, remember any location selected should be up to date on ADA compliance!

Attire

On the invite, be sure to spell out what the expected attire is. This can range anywhere from casual to formal, but remember to consider your workforce. A formal attire event is a great idea on paper, but will your workforce have this attire on hand? Or are you inadvertently requesting they go out and spend money in order to attend? Will you be making it difficult or impossible for some to attend because finances are tight? Make sure you also make reference to what “appropriate” attire is. Some may use the Holiday party as an opportunity to wear something too tight or revealing that would not otherwise be appropriate for the workplace

Décor

Just like in naming the event, neutrality is key! While certain holiday decorations have been deemed secular in nature, do your best to select to keep things are neutral as possible. I wouldn’t recommend trying to appease everyone by having Christmas trees, menorahs, and symbols from every culture – inevitably you will miss one and that’s when some might feel left out! Try to stay with themes more around Winter Wonderland and snowflakes or neutral celebration symbols like flowers, balloons and candles.

Invites/attendance

This is an important consideration. Are spouses, significant others, and children invited? Is attendance mandatory? These details should be expressly stated on the invite. Remember, if attendance is mandatory, this is compensatory time under wage and hour laws and your hourly employees will need to be paid for their attendance at the party. Allowing your employees to bring a “plus one” or their entire family may put them at ease in this social situation. After all, the goal of the party is to spread good cheer and ensure everyone has fun, right?

Timing

Realize that the timing of your celebration could impact attendance if family members are not invited. For example, a Friday evening event without family may make it hard for employees to find childcare or they may not want to give up an evening with their significant other. If the celebration is during working hours, try to make sure employees are given plenty of warning so they can avoid calendar conflicts with meetings, etc. Timing can also be a consideration of when the party is scheduled. Planning a celebration during the month of December could conflict with certain religious holidays or other holiday plans. Some companies have opted to do their holiday celebration in January to avoid any kind of conflict with religious holidays.

Conduct

As this is a company event, it’s good to remind employees that their behavior, attire, and etiquette at the party should remain work-appropriate. Citing important policies like anti-harassment, dress codes, and confidentiality policies may be helpful and let’s everyone know disciplinary action can be taken if conduct is inappropriate.

Food

When considering your food options, make sure it is inclusive! Consider offering a vegetarian and non-vegetarian option! This will support that neutral and respectful accommodation of everyone’s diverse dietary needs and beliefs.

Alcohol

This is one of the most important decisions to make! Will alcohol be served? If so, how will consumption be monitored or limited? Will the company be providing cab vouchers or transportation home from the party? You can consider closing the bar a few hours before the party ends or handing out drink tickets. If opting for the drink ticket method, make sure measures are in place so employees cannot collect other employee’s unused tickets. I’d also recommend having an outside bartender serve the alcohol. Make sure this bartender knows not to serve anyone underage or who is already intoxicated. Let employees know IDs will be checked for anyone consuming alcohol. As many employees will enjoy the free booze, make sure there are also ample non-alcoholic options for those employees who do not drink.

Name a host

Every good party has a host that is keeping everything in order! In this case, the host or hosts will be ensuring conduct is appropriate. If someone seems to have had too much to drink, the host should assist in calling a cab or arranging transportation. If jokes start going a little too far, it may be time to coyly change the topic of discussion!

Just don’t do it!

No matter what type of party you choose, there are some things you should just NEVER do. In this case – Mistletoe! While it is a nice festive thing in your home, at work, giving an unsuspecting coworker a smooch because they’re standing under the mistletoe crosses way too many lines! I know it’s fun, but at work – please! Just don’t do it!!

Have Fun!

Holiday celebrations are planned to boost employee morale and build a sense of kinship with everyone in the company. To avoid horror stories, and to make sure the morning (or Monday) after can still be almost as fun as the night before, keep the party inclusive, neutral, and respectful. Have fun in a responsible and professional manner and the office won’t be a scary place the next day.

Happy Holidays!

Clicking “Like” may now be considered protected activity

We’ve all heard horror stories about an employee posting something about work on Facebook or Twitter and later being fired for it. Well, a case in Connecticut may have just given employers a bit more guidance on what is protected activity under Section 7 rights under the National Labor Relations Act with regard to Social Media.  In other words, can you fire an employee for what they write or what they “Like” on social sites?

Quick overview of the case:
Triple Play is a sports bar and grill operating in Connecticut and when preparing their tax returns in January 2011, a large number of employees discovered they owed money to the state. As several complaints rolled in from employees who suspected the employer had made a mistake in calculating  state tax withholdings, the owner scheduled a staff meeting with the current employees and the payroll provider.

A recently separated employee, Jaime LaFrance, took to Facebook and began the following conversation: “Maybe someone should do the owners of Triple Play a favor and buy it from them. They can’t even do the tax paperwork correctly!!! Now I OWE money…Wtf!!!!”

There were many comments that followed including a comment from a sympathetic restaurant customer and current employees. The separated employee made a remark in the conversation that was potentially defamatory by insinuating that the owner had pocketed the tax withholdings. Shortly after that comment, another current employee “liked” LaFrance’s original comment on Facebook. As a whole, the conversation was not very becoming of the employer and included foul language. One current employee commented saying “I owe too. Such an A**hole”. The owner of the restaurant learned of the conversation and reviewed it. As a result, both of the current employees were terminated for their participation in the conversation.

Ultimately the NLRB ruled that the employees were wrongfully terminated because they were participating in Protected speech – but why? The conversation was considered protected because the discussion related to terms of employment and was intended for employee’s mutual aid and benefit. The NLRB ruled that since the current employee only liked the original comment and not the potentially defamatory comment, this behavior was also protected. Furthermore, the employee that commented on the conversation was also only responding to the original statement of the conversation and her referral to the owner in foul language was merely an expression of her opinion rather than a statement of fact.

Is your head spinning yet? As an employer, I imagine it’s a bit frightening to think that Facebook activity may be considered protected, especially when it’s unbecoming to a company! Perhaps, Triple Play’s owner could have used our tips on responding to reviews on social media! You may also want to check out Littler’s full breakdown of the case and suggestions to employers!

Note: The employer filed an appeal, but in October 2015, the Second Circuit upheld the decision of the NLRB!