Social media posts can be the key to a business’s growth, but it also only takes one post to throw any company into a downward spiral. Co-founder and publisher of the Federalist, Ben Domenech, posted a threatening tweet in July that insinuates serious work-related punishments for employees that opt for engagement in a union. With just this single tweet, the federalist has become engulfed in months of harassment debates and legal matters with the National Labor Relations Board.
The Federalist is a conservative American online magazine and podcast that covers everything from politics to policy and culture. Despite all of this current event coverage, the company’s publisher recently released a tweet that has been deemed as a threat to employees by a panel of the National Labor Relations Board.
The tweet concerns employees attempting to unionize. It reads, “FYI @fdrlst first one of you tries to unionize I swear I’ll send you back to the salt mine.”
Phrases that include sending someone “to the salt mine” are a reference to forcible or reluctant labor, stemming from an old Russian form of prisoner punishment. The National Labor Relations Board noted that the term in the context of this tweet qualifies as a threat, and a judge ruling on November 24th agreed. After much consideration and discourse, Domenech’s tweet has been ruled as a violation of the National Labor Relations Act.
The tweet was posted from Ben Domenech’s personal Twitter account and directly acknowledges the company’s main account. However, in an article published by HRDrive, it was found that the council for FDRLST media maintains that a normal employee “would not take Domenech’s tweet as a threat…” and that the tweet was meant for satire, not threatening workers.
The National Labor Relations Board, as well as the judge on this case, made a point to highlight that all threats of retaliation against employees who act in favor of forming a union, regardless of any joking manner, violate the National Labor Relations Act.
At First Response we will help you create guidelines and company standards that serve to maintain a professional level of interaction with social media. The way employees express themselves through the internet can come around to harm their coworkers and even the company itself. By educating individuals in your business you can prevent inappropriate posts like this from harming your company’s culture and public appearance.
Back to the salt mines. (n.d.). Retrieved December 08, 2020, from https://www.dictionary.com/browse/back-to-the-salt-mines
Golden, R. (2020, December 03). Publisher’s ‘salt mine’ tweet violated labor law, NLRB says. Retrieved December 08, 2020, from https://www.hrdive.com/news/publishers-salt-mine-tweet-violated-labor-law-nlrb-says/591552/?utm_source=Sailthru