A medical office lawfully terminated its employee for sharing profanity-laced, derogatory comments on Facebook. A former employee set up a group Facebook message to coordinate a social event with seven current employees and three former employees. In the course of discussions, a current employee (“Employee”) bemoaned that the office would be re-hiring a former employee and speculated the person would be supervisor. She also stated that the office was “full of shit . . . They seem to be staying away from me, you know I don’t bite my [tongue] anymore . . . [F---] . . . FIRE ME . . . Make my day . . . .” No current employees participated in this portion of the group message. About two hours later, Employee observed that she felt abandoned and there was “[n]o one to make me laugh.” Another current employee responded that she made Employee laugh and “it’s getting bad there [at the office], it’s just annoying as hell. It’s always some dumb shit going on.” Employee confirmed the other current employee made her laugh.
In an Advice Memorandum, an associate general counsel for the National Labor Relations Board concluded that Employee’s speech was a “personal gripe” and not concerted activity. Employee’s “comments reflected her personal contempt for her returning coworker and her supervisor, rather than any shared employee concerns over terms and conditions of employment. Further, “there was no thread connecting [Employee’s] comments to those of any coworker pertaining to shared concerns about working conditions.”