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Employer settles with Facebooker who called boss 'dick'

Social network = public forum

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An ambulance company in Connecticut has agreed to settle a case that challenged its decision to fire an employee for posting comments on Facebook that referred to her boss as a “dick” and a “scumbag.”

American Medical Response said it would revise its rules to make clear they don't prevent employees from discussing wages, hours and working conditions with co-workers during non-work hours. The company also promised to honor employee requests for union representation when meeting with managers.

The agreement settles a complaint brought in October by the National Labor Relations Board that claimed AMR's firing of Dawnmarie Souza was illegal. She was dismissed in December of 2009, one month after she posted the derogatory remarks about the boss to her Facebook wall.

The case touched on whether workers have the right to criticize supervisors in internet forums. While there are plenty of reasons employees may want to keep their work gripes to themselves, the outcome seems to suggest employers, at least those in the US, may want to proceed with caution. ®

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