Federal agency rules Facebook posts protected by free speech - CBS46 News

Federal agency rules Facebook posts protected by free speech

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ATLANTA (CBS46) -

Facebook can be lots of fun - until your wall postings cause you to lose your job. But now there is hope.

The National Labor Relations Board ruled last month that your employer can't fire you just because of what you post on your Facebook page.

The decision was made in December after four employees in New York were fired for posting negative comments about their employers.

The NLRB ruled that as long as person is not making threats or harassing people, they are free to say what they like.

Dustin Patil just finish grad school and is searching for a job, but says there is no way he feels comfortable dogging a future employer on Facebook or anywhere else in public.

"The things you post are a kind of a reflection of who you are and who your character is but at the same time, there are things I'd like my friends to see that I don't want my employer to see," Patil said.

Amanda Farahany is the managing partner at Barrett & Farahany Georgia's largest and oldest firm specializing in employment law.

Farahany told CBS Atlanta News that Americans' social media comments are considered free speech.

"You're allowed to use Facebook. You're allowed to talk about your work place but you're not allowed to it in a way that harasses or intimidates or threatens other people," Farahany said.

The NLRB tackled a case where union employees complained about their employer and were fired.

"You can't fire somebody because they engage in protected activity," Farahany said.

Patil still said he isn't quite convinced and plans to play it safe as he posts his thoughts and feelings socially.

"It's fun, you know, the memories from my friends and I, but I keep it professional now," Patil said.

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