Employees criticizing the firm? Where to draw the line — Business Management Daily: Free Reports on Human Resources, Employment Law, Office Management, Office Communication, Office Technology and Small Business Tax Business Management Daily
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Employees criticizing the firm? Where to draw the line

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in Employment Law,Firing,Human Resources,Leaders & Managers,Management Training

Execs and supervisors may bristle at criticism from employees and instinctively want to punish offenders.

But that apparent insubordination can sometimes be considered protected speech under federal or state law. Knowing what’s protected and what’s not is key.

While employers in at-will states can fire workers for almost any nondiscriminatory reason, certain exceptions exist. A collective-bargaining agreement or individual contract can set limits on terminations. The National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), Sarbanes-Oxley and state whistle-blower laws allow union and nonunion employees to criticize matters related to working conditions, wages, hours and dishonest practices.

The NLRA says that both union and nonunion employees can criticize organizations (in public or private) under the following conditions:

  • The criticism is connected to employee involvement in “concerted activities” that are related to the “mutual ...(register to read more)

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