Many New York consumers go to Yelp to read reviews of local businesses or post their own reviews. Because Yelp has become so popular, low star-ratings and negative reviews can have a significant impact on a business’ chances of success. Now, Yelp is facing its own negative review in the form of a letter that was posted online by one of its employees.
A 25-year-old woman who was working as a customer service agent at Yelp published a letter she wrote to the CEO in February. In the letter, the woman explains that the wages she receives from Yelp are not enough to cover her basic living expenses. Just two hours after the letter was published, the woman was fired for violating the company’s ‘terms of conduct”.
The firing of the Yelp employee brings up some legal questions about what employees are allowed to post on the Internet. According to Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act, employees can discuss their conditions of employment and express criticism about those conditions while enjoying protection from adverse employment decisions. In March 2015, the NLRB Office of General Counsel issued a report in which it expressed concern that employee rights under the NLRA are being violated by employer rules.
People who have been fired from their job because of their activities online may want to talk to an employment law attorney. If an employee’s online activities were protected under the NLRA because they were collective in nature, an attorney may be able to help the employee to file a wrongful termination lawsuit.