You may recall our coverage of the National Labor Relations Board ruling in the dispute between Dawnmarie Souza and her former employee American Medcal Response of Connecticut Inc. That case was settled yesterday, the day before the hearing.
The NLRB ruled that Souza’s firing for a Facebook comment about her supervisor was improper. Her remarks were considered protected speech. The NLRB claimed AMR’s rules were overly broad when it came to the Internet and communications between workers. This is the first case in which the NLRB has made this argument about the web.
AMR has agreed to change those rules.
AMR and Dawnmarie Souza are not commenting, but Souza did post a brief comment to STATter911.com when our original posting ran on November 9:
While I have been advised to avoid interviews, I feel obligated to say something. First of all my page is private and I am a medic, not emt. The story has been greatly altered and I can only say please do not judge me until all the facts are out. Thank you.
The exact terms of the settlement, including whether Souza gets her job back have not been made public. Here’s more in excerpts from HartfordCourtant.com:
Souza, a paramedic for AMR in New Haven, posted the comment on her Facebook page on the same day she was suspended from work after refusing her supervisor Frank Filardo’s request to write up a report on a complaint about her performance. Management rejected her request for union representation.
The company did not respond late Monday to a question about whether Souza will be rehired, and had said in the past that her firing was not for her Facebook post, but for “multiple, serious issues.”
In the three years before her firing Souza had missed a lot of work because of treatments and follow-up surgeries for breast cancer. Her illness was not part of the NLRB’s case.
Legal experts have said the Souza-AMR case would be groundbreaking for unionized workers, but would probably not affect the rights of most nonunion workers, who typically are employed “at will,” meaning they can be fired for any reason as long as it does not illegally target them on the basis of race, age or other protected categories.