by: Bernard Warner
In 2006, facing low morale and high turnover, the Hills & Dales General Hospital in Cass City, Michigan, introduced a new code of conduct. It forbade gossip, encouraged teamwork, and included an employee pledge to “represent Hills & Dales in the community in a positive and professional manner in every opportunity.”
But the code failed the Facebook test. This April, the National Labor Relations Board, or NLRB, ruled it illegal after a Hills & Dales employee was punished for defending a fired co-worker in a Facebook post that called the hospital’s managers “douchebags.” The NLRB found the “no gossip” tenet and its broadly worded “positive and professional” pledge-which Hills & Dales cited when disciplining that worker-violated staff members’ rights to discuss work conditions without retaliation.